If you have a heart for Israel and for young Israelis with disabilities, the Ben Shemen Day Center is a great project to work on. It looks like a rural kibbutz, but is right in central Israel not far from Ben Gurion Airport. This center runs from 8 a.m. to 5 pm, which allows the parents to work regular jobs, while their young people use their skills to help fund supplies, activities and needs at the center.
Some of the jobs that disabled youth can do (with direction) are: preparing meals, clean-up, growing vegetables, feeding and caring for animals at the adjacent zoo and dairy, and making ceramics, tie rugs, mobiles, etc. for sale at village fairs. This work is gratifying and productive for them and gives them life skills, building up their self-esteem. It is intermingled, though, with leisure activities like art, music, folkdance, photography, etc. to make an employment center that they continue to grow and develop at.
The staff and volunteers are exemplary, people that enjoy building up others and leading them when they need help. They love to see each small increase in ability that the young people continually show with this type of program.
Of course there are continual needs for any program like this. We would like to take the month of May and try to get all of the items on their needs list. You are invited to join in on this project for Israel’s disabled, yet capable and productive, young people.