Read the testimony R. – a new volunteer in ELEM’s night vans – is telling about the shift she made from being a youth in need to an adult that is providing help and support to current youth in need:
“I grew up in Jerusalem in the nineties, during “the glamorous days” of the Zion Square, a meeting place for revelers and young people. I was a lost and confused teenage girl.
Home, back then, was a place I wanted to run away from. At that time, the only obvious alternative was the streets. By age 14, I had known every alley and each bar. I knew every teenager who shared the same fate.
Somewhere along the steep hill I was rolling down from, I came across ELEM’s warmth, acceptance and confidence.
I truly wanted to be part of it. But I could not. My shell was too thick. It was too hard to be broken. Still whatever broke through became deeply inscribed in my heart for years to come.
In those days while at the Zion Square while working with ELEM, I was inspired to be one day to be on the other side. I wanted to give back.
Years passed by, and I have been rehabilitated. My passion to be on the giving side became even stronger.
I aimed at this direction, knowing that I would volunteer in ELEM. Once I was ready.
After years of working with children and young adults in distress by using animals and gardening as a means of therapy, I felt ready to bring myself, as I am, to the teens in the streets, to contribute and really be there for them.”