HOUSE OF WHEELS

Equal among equals

 
Who We Are

House of Wheels was founded in 1979 by guidance counselor Miriam Schwarz Z”L. She worked in South Tel Aviv at the Tekuma School for children with cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy and organized a weekend of recreation and social activities for eight children with physical disabilities. For 5 years, with limited means and unlimited dedication, Miriam worked to implement her dream of fulfilling the needs of these children and their families.

From the beginning, it was the unique relationship formed between the volunteers and children which created the special atmosphere that defines House of Wheels. Miriam recruited volunteers based on their personal qualities and interest in being part of her initiative. The way they were chosen – based on personality and not expertise – became a principle that has continued since. Volunteers choose to stay for years as they become an integral part of the House of Wheels community.

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The organization has expanded greatly since its start, now offering weekend, weekday, and summer camp activities for multiple age groups. Several graduates have gone on to be employed by the program, and every board member started their journey as a volunteer counselor. House of Wheels truly becomes a second home for all of its members, with and without disabilities. 

472

Active Participants

6

Locations Nationwide

160,000

Annual Volunteer Hours

41

Years of Activity

 
What We Believe In

At House of Wheels, we envision a society in which people with physical disabilities are fully included in all areas of life, including education, recreation, and beyond. Our purpose is to engage those with disabilities and provide them with opportunities to develop and grow. We believe that all people deserve to reach their full potential, regardless of their background, and therefore we operate in all sectors of Israeli society – serving Jews, Arabs, Bedouins, Christians, Muslims, and Druze alike.

Based on this vision, our goals are:  

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1.

Delivering an enjoyable and meaningful social and educational framework

2.

Offering opportunities to experience and develop a variety of life skills

3.

Creating a unique and supportive environment for children who are in special education and those who are in mainstream education

4.

Providing support for families

5.

Fostering the leadership abilities of youth and young adults with physical disabilities

6.

Building a community of dedicated and involved volunteers

7.

Advancing and developing continuing education services

8.

Establishing partnerships and cooperation across all sectors to promote the organization’s vision

 
What We Do

To achieve our goals, we provide programs to 470 children, youth and young adults at

6 branches nationwide. Our branches are located in the north (Bustan HaGalil and Wadi Ara), the south (Be’er Sheva and Kibbutz Urim), and in Herzliya and Jerusalem (serving the center of the country).

Programs offered at each branch include:

1 | Weekend Groups 

Participants aged 8-21 spend one weekend each month, sleeping over at their respective houses in groups of 15 of their peers, along with the guidance of volunteer counselors. During these weekends, the participants discuss topics that are relevant to them, while enjoying fun social interactions in a welcoming environment. These weekend meetings empower the participants while also giving their families a weekend of reassurance knowing their children are in a supportive, educational, and loving place.

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2 |Summer Camps

The highlight of each year takes place over the summer, when hundreds of participants and volunteers attend summer camps throughout the country. The 5-day sleepaway camps include fun and exciting activities such as kayaking in the north, rock climbing in the south, hiking, volunteering in the community and more.

3 |Tennis Clubs

The “House in the North” offers weekly accessible tennis classes for youth with disabilities. This enables them to realize their potential and experience success, thus increasing their self-confidence.

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4 |Rolling Forward Leadership Program

Rolling Forward is a unique leadership program for teens aged 14-20. The program prepares them for the completion of high school by focusing on self advocacy skills, increasing self-esteem and self-worth, and exercising autonomy. The Rolling Forward program also includes a group project centered around giving back to the community or inspiring social change.

5 | Young Adults Program

The Young Adults program for ages 21 and up, provides training and support for young adults as they take their first steps towards integration into society. The program includes weekly group meetings, combined with weekly individual counseling sessions focusing on personal growth.

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6 |  Wheels and Wings Day Center

The Day Center in the Herzliya branch was founded to meet the needs of our graduates who require additional support and guidance. In partnership with the Ministry of Welfare, the Day Center provides a daily framework for adults aged 21 and over. The center offers creative rehabilitation programs in a variety of areas. Its uniqueness lies in the idea that the program is not an end goal, but rather a first step in the journey towards full integration into the community.

7 | Rolling Experience & MaaseBe

The Rolling Experience puts the public in the shoes of a person with disabilities so they can experience first-hand what it feels like. Hosted by people with disabilities, MaaseBe invites the public for cultural and culinary events while the hosts share their personal stories. Both projects operate as social ventures and offer vocational training to adults with disabilities while increasing the connection and dialogue between people with and without disabilities.

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