One Jerusalem high school is hosting a mega music fundraiser featuring special-needs teens. The project is aimed at assisting families with needs, such as purchasing groceries weekly and loaning school books to children of families who are unable to afford them.
“One of our main goals is to integrate the (special needs) children into the community as contributing citizens,” said Asaf Finkelstein from Shalva. “We wanted to express our solidarity with these wonderful young people who are so committed.
“But the extra meaning of this performance is to prove that our children are not a burden on society – as some people think – but are, rather, an inseparable part of it. We believe that if they are simply surrounded by open attitudes, they will transcend being ‘receivers’ to being ‘givers.’ I have no doubt that the audience in this stupendous fundraising event have come to realize this themselves.”
Shalva, the Association of Mentally and Physically Challenged Children, was established in 1990. Its goal is to help special needs children and their parents with a “round-the-clock center where these children could reach maximum potential while providing their parents with a vital support system, enabling them the most normal life possible,” said Shalva’s Associate Director, Avi Samuels.
Shalva has found music to be the answer for these children and teens to freely express themselves. The Shalva ensemble integrates both special-needs children and other volunteers who enjoy music.
“Our band combines children with disabilities, regular children and volunteers who, together, create music which does great things for the children as well as anyone listening,” said Shai Ben Shushan, Shalva’ music therapist.