There it stands, a picturesque chalet surrounded by luxuriant foliage in a rustic village located in Nechalim. From a distance it exudes a quiet loveliness but come closer and you’ll see that it is anything but quiet. Everywhere you look there are motorized wheelchairs and their owners are going from here to there, busy, busy, busy, very intent on achieving their goals. Their goals are many – these severely handicapped young people. Some are unable to walk, others unable to speak but all have talents, opinions, desires. In partnership with the Israeli government Social Services, Ezer Mizion has set up nine centers throughout the country with activities for these precious souls who want so much to accomplish. Each center has separate programs for boys and girls featuring activities such as art, sports and 3D printing. The 3D printing is especially popular with many participants creating items that can be used to further their own goals. One girl who has no use of her fingers, severely limiting her abilities, was so proud to display a helmet with a paint brush attached. True, her fingers were useless but her head could be moved. The helmet will allow her, a talented young woman with so many ideas bubbling inside her mind, to express herself artistically. “This is the first time I ever completed something myself!” she cried out joyfully as she displayed her ‘invention’ to all those around her.
The members travel to the Ezer Mizion Center on their own via motorized wheelchairs on wheel-accessible buses. Their enthusiasm for the Center is contagious and inspires everyone on the route to want to help out. The bus drivers are especially kind, offering those little extra gestures that make the trips a pleasure rather than a burden for the disabled. One driver was particularly kind and sensitive, going to far as to drive a girl all the way back home when a rainstorm suddenly came up and he feared her motorized wheelchair becoming ruined in the rain. It was this bus driver that was one of the three winners of Egged’s “Driver of the Year” award. As caring as he is, he is not alone in his compassion. Already so utterly handicapped in making her way in the world, a girl’s life became even more difficult when her father suddenly passed away. All the positive energy she exuded in her excitement for another day at Ezer Mizion’s Center had won her many friends on the bus lines and it was these drivers who came as a group to be menachem avel (comfort a mourner) and strengthen our heroine.
The warmth and love of the Ezer Mizion staff generating an I-can-do-it attitude in the participants. The participants’ enthusiasm generating thoughtfulness and consideration in those they encounter. The bus drivers’ desire to extend themselves rather than considering the needs of the disabled to be a nuisance, an annoyance—all create a bond of giving , a circle of friendship and respect.
Ezer Mizion provides services to over 660,000 of Israel’s population annually in addition to its Bone Marrow Registry which saves the lives of Jewish cancer patients the world over.