Graduates of ADI Moriah’s pioneer Ali Program celebrated the conclusion of their year-long spell of National Service amidst friends, family and program representatives.
The first group of program participants – Tzafnat, Ranana, Karin, Meital, Libbi and Avital – served at the Givat Washington Educational Campus, working in the center’s daycare center, kindergarten, library and secretarial office. When not working, the girls participated in religious studies and enjoyed extra-curricular programs geared towards training for future independence.
The revolutionary ALI Program offers young girls ages 18-25 with disabilities from the religious community the opportunity to fulfill themselves as they work towards and learn skills to advance their independence. The program is funded by the Ministry of Social Affairs in conjunction with Michlelet Orot Etzion, headed by Rabbi Uzi Bienenfeld, and is supervised and operated by ADI Moriah professionals. Representatives from all organizations took part in the graduation party, including Yaki Sa’ada, Givat Washington Educational Campus director, Naama Sudowitz, director of ADI Moriah, National Service representatives, family and friends.
In the words of one program participant, “This year we met new people, we were exposed to experiences which we had never known, we did interesting work, enjoyed trips, learned Torah, had parties and participated in joint Shabbats. Even so, we dealt with a number of challenges in order to learn to be independent: laundry, cooking, baking, cleaning and staying neat and orderly. We got to know each other and how to respect each other’s ways. This year was very significant for us and we would like to thank you for enabling us to feel at home.”
Naama Sudowitz added that, “the goal of each one of us in the ALI program was to build quality lives for the girls, to follow their development and ensure their success in fulfilling their desires, realizing their dreams and achieving their aspirations. The National Service organization has been our partner from the beginning. It is due to them that our girls were able to integrate into National Service, and this is not something to be taken for granted.”
Givat Washington Educational Campus director Yaki Sa’ada electrified the crowd as he shared his initial feelings regarding the program. “In the beginning, I had a lot of concerns. I didn’t know how the girls would be accepted, if and how they would integrate. My concerns quickly vanished. The girls were so well received. Everyone loves them and because of them Givat Washington has moved up a few rungs in the ladder.”
Shimon Kortoza, parent, also expressed his gratitude. “We thank HaKadosh Baruch Hu who guided us to this place. Here, in one year, they learned to include our girls better than we learned throughout all the years. These dear girls felt equal among equals, and that is the most important thing. We now have the opportunity to say to this wonderful staff: thank you for bringing the smiles back to our faces and for believing.”
In light of the program’s huge success, a second group of girls will begin National Service in Givat Washington next year.