another step forward in being officialy recognized by the state
- Sharon Yegerman, Aguda spokesman
"The President's Award for Volunteerism" is awarded each year to volunteers and NGOs who make special contribution to the state of Israel and the Israeli society as a whole. This award reflects the President's aspiration in nurturing values of social involvement, giving, and a sense of social responsibility. Each year, nearly a dozen individuals and organizations are given the honor. This year, the Aguda along with five other organizations received the Award- among them Etgarim, an organization concerned with enabling people with special needs to integrate within society through outdoor training, Maslan, support center for victims of violence and sexual abuse, and Paamonim, an organization aiding families in reaching self sufficiency (economically).
The ceremony took place on August 10th, 2010 at a reception at the President's Residence in Jerusalem. Among the reasons the Aguda received the Award were "...its activities in realizing the social rights and responding to the special needs arising from the community. This Award is presented to the Aguda for its numerous and varied activities in promoting tolerance in the Israeli society…. and its aid to individuals on grounds of their sexual orientation".
For many of the individuals active in the Aguda, this was a breakthrough moment:
"I found it tremendously significant that a national entity [the President's Residence] hosts, for the first time, community members and honors them with the Award- for me it meant another step forward in being officialy recognized by the state", said Sharon Yegerman, a spokesman of the Aguda for the past four months. Others agree, it was a true honor: "very significant steps have been made in the past few years.. to be on that stage, in that very respectable place, a place of awareness… was a true honor. Finally the community was on given that recognition on the front stage. Overall, it was a very moving collection of good people doing good" , shares Batia Vigel, a volunteer parent in Tehila (an association that consul parents of the GLBT community) , Be'er Sheba.
Mike Hamel, Chairman of the Aguda, reflects "I'm proud to receive this award in honor of all the volunteers in the? past and present. The Aguda is its volunteers and with their help it stands for more than 35 years in the front of the gay community's struggles worldwide. I'm proud to stand on this ceremonial stage in Jerusalem and receive this honor on their behalf."
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our supporters, communities and private donors in Israel and abroad, who make our achievements possible!