Danielle Aviv's Story - Past Counselor
Flooded with emotions, trying to sum up a long and so significant period and is not simple at all...
I can not believe I am parting from something that was an integral part of me, my daily life, my constant thoughts, my everything during every hour, day and year for 7 years... days, nights, weekdays, Saturdays, holidays and vacations. 24/7.
Ever since I remember myself (or actually before I remember... the first months of my life), I have been living and breathing Ben Shemen. When I was born my parents returned to the Village, the place where they were educated and decided to return to, the place from which they received an education, values, friends, love, family. Throughout my childhood my parents educated and raised me and my two sisters and lots of of other brothers and sisters. As a child I had a hard time understanding how I had so many brothers and sisters. I grew up and probably the education bacteria and love for the place and the children infected me as well.
As the army approached I was candidate for an instructor's position. Anyone who knew me then knew that this was the last thing I would think of . I did not have the confidence at all to stand in front of people, so become an instructor? I came to the interview knowing I was not going for it. Shadi, who was then a lieutenant colonel in preparation for officer's training, made me not give in to fear and try. Maximum, I will succeed. and so it was. So from a beginning instructor who avoids giving lessons and doing reports with other staff, I became an instructor who enjoys the job and mostly learns a lot about myself, my loves and abilities.
The army is over, some work, trips and again I return to Ben Shemen... (actually you don't leave). Shlomi was asked to replace a counselor in a group of children of fifth-sixth graders. He agreed to be the replacement request until a new counselor is found. From there he stayed for a whole year. As we saw each other, I saw how satisfied he was with the work and what amazing children he had...
So as a 25-year-old young woman, right after I got married, even before I tasted what parenting was, I discovered that I was already a mother to children, although I had not given birth, who became a very significant part of my life. These were actually the children with whom Shlomi started, only they were already in 7th and 8th grade.
My first and second cycle ended two or three years ago and there is nothing more exciting than seeing these little ones I knew and mentored since they were in 5th-6th grade and as 7th-8th grader standing on stage. I was (and still am) full of pride and excitement.
For the past five years I have been with the youngest children in the village, the sweetest children there are, children from first to fifth grade, and with them the excitement was great. Seeing how they grow, develop, mature, take shape, succeed... simply a pleasure.
Throughout my 7 years in this amazing and special educational endeavor-
I coached in 2 groups (Reut and the House of Dreams). I accompanied, educated and raised 56 boys / girls, and my own 3+ children. 56 children each and every one of whom is a world until themselves! Children with amazing abilities and traits, children full of goodness, warmth, love, giving, wisdom, maturity and sensitivity. I worked alongside 3 managers and 4 amazing, professional, inclusive, supportive and accommodating coordinators. 2 accompanying social workers and one psychologist who have always been attentive and inclusive. 9 counselors and housemothers from each of whom I learned something about giving, love, humor, openness, sharing, teamwork, mobilization, totality...
I worked alongside 7 year of service volunteers and one soldier, charming and rare young people, who came to give and contribute a year of their lives to our amazing children and made the years fun, experiential, funny, creative and full of interest...
Alongside all this, joint work with the children's parents, the school staff, the learning center staff, the maintenance staff, the nurses in the clinic, the kitchen workers, the bookkeepers, the farm workers, the janitors, the enrichment professionals, the caregivers, the tutors... (Hope I did not miss anyone) - Thank you all!
And of course a huge thank you to my amazing parents who are my model. Thank you for the education and values. Thank you for allowing me to give and for helping me fully with the grandchildren.
Thank you to my love who had a sympathetic ear and a supportive shoulder at all moments and thanks to him I was able to work and build a home together. And to my special children who received with love and understanding, that they share the mother with more children.
The meaning of my two groups is what sums up all these years - Reut and the House of Dreams.
Thanks to this place I got to meet amazing friends, partners and people, each and everyone, with a wide heart and a huge soul. This place is a home without a doubt. A house of dreams. (Just like I answered the Minister of Education from the Ivory Coast to his question how I feel about Ben Shemen... "Home!" Home Sweet Home)
As well, I am happy and proud to show my children how much giving is good for us and how much fun it is to be with lots of brothers and sisters. Uri: "Mother, I want to visit your children."
So Ben Shemen, thanks for the opportunity. Thank you for an interesting, enjoyable, satisfying, empowering and instructive chapter.
Thank you for this beautiful time. Thank you for the challenges and difficulties, for the processes and successes, for the fun and the laughter, the smiles and the hugs.
Thank you to all my partners and a huge thank you to my 56 amazing kids who let me be a part of their lives. You have taken a big place in my life and in my heart and will always stay there.
Goodbye Home. Shalomto a magical kingdom.