A graduate expresses himself
Ron (not his real name) graduated from the Group House in the summer of 2004. He grew up in the Children's Home before transferring to the Group House and its Margit Levy Apartment. The following are excerpts from his farewell speech
"The day has finally come when I'm leaving, after eleven years of being in two residential homes since the age of seven. So much time has past, but it seems like yesterday. During these eleven years I became attached to a lot of people and during this time I also changed completely; everyone's aware of it, especially me.
I remember when I first came to the Children's Home. I was a little boy, very frightened and very wild, and during my first few years all I wanted was to return home. But then as I understood that everyone was trying to help me and not imprison me as I originally thought, I began to love the place. By the time I understood that, it was time to move on from the Children's Home to the Group House.
When I arrived at the Group House, I was given more freedom, more responsibility, a greater sense of being home, and that is what really changed me.
Eti, your job is defined as housemother, but for me you were like a mother, you always looked after me and provided me with everything I needed, with love. Malka, I was always close to you and loved helping you with the cooking, and am grateful that you taught me how to love the kitchen and prepare homemade foods. It is thanks to your encouragement that today I can boast a Professional Cook's Certificate.
Ariel, from my first day at the Group House you were there to see me through. As my counselor for three years until I moved to the Apartment, you are the one who helped me in everything. We share many experiences - separating, reuniting, fighting and even going out to have fun. I remember the day I hurt you very deeply by getting all the boys at the Group House to gang up on you - there was a lot of violence here that day. I was beat up and so were you, and I was suspended indefinitely. But I made great efforts to return, and I recall how I couldn't look you in the eye when they let me back two months later. Yet, on my first night back we spoke about what had happened. I want you to know that as much as I had hurt you, I feel that I had also hurt myself because you were such an important person in my life. So thank you for everything and especially for your endless patience.
Asaf [Group House director]: There are no words, nor a sentence, nor even a book that can express my gratitude to you for the patience and love that you gave me. We know each other from the Children's Home, and we now have completed eight years together - that is half of my lifetime. Thanks to you I've gotten through difficult times, especially the last two years when you were ready to absorb so much of my nonsense and continued helping me and my mother. You were always like a father to me in everything you did.
Last but not least, Mom, thank you for your help and encouragement. You played a major role in my completing the Group House program, and for that I want to thank you a million times. I love you and will always be by your side when you need me.Thank you ALL"