TORONTO — Canadian Friends of Israel Elwyn, in partnership with Jewish Vocational Service, is highlighting Israel Elwyn’s Sensory Garden in Jerusalem as part of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s [email protected] celebrations May 20 at the Barbara Frum Library.
Israel’s first sensory garden, The Katie Manson Sensory Garden, is located at Israel Elwyn.
Israel Elwyn, whose Canadian office is located at JVS, is one of Israel’s largest providers of services such as rehabilitation, supported living, vocational training and employment, for people with special needs, providing them with the means to achieve independence and integration into the community.
The 3,000-square-metre Katie Manson Sensory Garden, located at Israel Elwyn, includes interactive devices to encourage physical and emotional development in a stimulating environment.
The first of its kind in Israel, the garden consists of four corners, each focusing on one of the senses – sight, smell, sound and touch.
David Marcu, executive director of Israel Elwyn, will provide an audio-visual presentation of the garden at the event. He said the garden’s purpose is to extend therapeutic activity from the treatment room into a natural setting.
“[We created a garden] that enhances quality of life and emphasizes activities that integrate interactive devices with the natural environment,” Marcu said.
“[Our aim] was to have the garden oriented toward adults but also suited for children, be accessible to people with various types of disabilities, and be suitable for use by people with different levels of cognitive and motor impairment.”
Karen Goldenberg, president and CEO of JVS Toronto and a Canadian Friends of Israel Elwyn board member, said that in celebrating Israel @60, the two agencies want to help raise awareness of the “brilliant” work going on in Israel.
When she toured the garden, she said, she encountered a group of Jewish children with multiple disabilities, another group of Arab students who were autistic, and a number of visitors from the public. “To me, that proved how inclusive the garden is. It reaches out to everyone.”
The May 20 event, chaired by Friends board member David Rechtsman, is free to to the public. “It is not a fundraiser. We’re proud of the magnificent work done by Israel Elwyn, and we want people to know about it,” Goldenberg said.
For information, call 416-787-1151, ext. 300.