Ron grew up in a very difficult home environment. In addition to extreme economic hardships, his brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bi-polar disease which manifested itself in violence, curses, throwing objects at household members and more. Ron himself struggled with ADHD; he often failed exams and suffered severe social isolation. Due to his father’s bankruptcy, the family moved frequently, often necessitating switching to new schools. Instability was a constant factor in his youth. There was only one bright spot in his life – he was an excellent soccer player and attracted the attention of many soccer groups that eyed him as potential talent. He was extremely skilled with the ball; this helped him relieve the isolation and cultivate a group of admiring friends. Soccer slowly took over Ron’s life. He worked hard all season to impress the coach to include him in the derby game – the dream of every aspiring soccer player.
The big day arrived and Ron had invited all his friends to watch and cheer him from the stands. He was certain that he’d be in the opening lineup. To his surprise, he was not included in the opening 11 players, but he consoled himself that he surely will be called to join later in the game… The minutes ticked by and halftime was long gone and he still wasn’t called. The 90 minutes were over and Ron rushed to the locker room, hoping not to catch the disdainful looks of his friends who had made the effort to come see him…
That very day, Ron abandoned the world of soccer – actually, not only soccer. He left school, he abandoned everything! He shut himself up in his house, only there – the situation was not any better. His brother’s condition worsened and Ron descended with him down the path of deterioration. They’d spend entire nights talking about their hopeless situation and empty future.
Mental exhaustion overcame Ron and he was forced into a day hospitalization program for youth. He’d lie for days on end on the hospital floor without minimal communication with those around him. Later, when his mental state was stabilized, he applied for and received mental health disability rights. This gave him access to many benefits including supported employment – a vocational rehabilitation program first introduced to Israel by Bayit Cham.
He turned to Bayit Cham for help and was assigned a vocational coach who was able to see Ron’s strengths and reflect them back to him. Guided by the coach, with the cooperation of the assisted living facility where he lived, Ron started a professional training course as a mentor. What a feeling of empowerment it gave him when he realized that he had it in him to empower others!
Today, he guides groups of patients with mental health conditions on behalf of Bayit Cham and works in a respectful, challenging position. In addition, Ron returned to playing soccer and today he is very proud to be the captain of a soccer team!
יוני נכנס לחדר הורים לאט ובשקט… הוא לא רצה שאמא תשמע אפילו את נעלי הקרוקס שלו…
“שתישן …” חשק את שפתיו. מזמן יודע יוני שהשינה מיטיבה עם אמא.
“אבל היום… היום אמא הבטיחה שתקח אותי לים. הלכתי בעצמי לחנות ובחרתי גלגל ים אדום,” מלמל יוני לעצמו… ויצא מהחדר.
היה זה הטיול הראשון אותו הבטיחה אוסנת, אימו של יוני, בחופשת הקיץ הארוכה… והנה הגיע השעה המיועדת והיא ישנה ….