MVP: Our Motivated, Versatile & Professional National Service Volunteers
Every year, ADI is blessed with a special group of young leaders who enhance our on-the-ground teams with their dedication, creativity and passion for our shared mission: helping our ADI residents reach their greatest potentials and live high-quality and fulfilling lives. While this year’s troupe of talented and tenacious team players came prepared to give of themselves, they could never have imagined that they would be called upon to remain at the ADI centers for weeks at a time and help the ADI staff shield our immunocompromised residents from COVID-19.
Still, they rose to the challenge and became integral parts of our emergency life-saving efforts, remaining calm, committed and confident in their abilities to help our children pull through this crisis with smiles on their faces. As these young heroes continue to help us keep our residents out of harm’s way, we salute them to make sure they know just how much we value them and appreciate their selfless service. They represent the very best of Israel, and we are so proud that they are part of our ADI family!
Joyful Family Reunions at ADI Negev
From the very beginning of this Coronavirus crisis, ADI implemented numerous extreme measures to ensure the safety and continued health of our immunocompromised residents with severe disabilities. Without question, the most difficult regulation we had to enforce was banning visits from the family members of our residents in order to limit the risk of contaminating our sterile environment.
Though all of our ADI parents understand the rationale behind this restriction, and have thanked us continually for keeping their beloved children safe, these last few weeks have been unbearable for them. To ease the pain of separation, our ADI staff and volunteers have helped the parents maintain a close connection with their children via video conference, and we promised to let them know the moment they could visit in person.
Last week, after consulting with the Ministry of Health and Welfare, ADI’s residential and rehabilitative village in the Negev was finally able to loosen its restriction on family visits and invited the ADI parents to come see their children face-to-face for the first time in weeks. During this first phase, parents must wear masks and gloves, and contact with their children is not allowed, but these minor inconveniences have not dampened the mood at all and every family reunion has been a joyful one.
We were amazed to see one of the ADI residents shout “Mom!” and “Dad!” when his parents came into view, and it was an incredibly touching moment when one of our nonverbal residents surprised everyone by saying “Schnitzel” when reuniting with her mother, referencing fond memories of her mother’s home cooked meals.
Another mother mentioned that her reunion with her son was one of the most powerful encounters they had ever experienced, and she felt more connected with her son than ever before. Though he cannot speak, just being together renewed their strong emotional bond.
The needs of our ADI children cannot be put on hold.
Public support is more important than ever to guarantee that our residents receive their daily respiratory treatments, their many specialized therapies that are critical to their care and development, and the medications and formulas that are not included in Israel’s health basket. With events, visitors, and fundraising meetings on hold, these vital services are in danger.
Though our ADI residents are being distanced from the public to safeguard their health, it is essential that they never feel alone.