2017-10-25 / Federation

Federation helping at-risk kids in Israel

GLOBAL CONNECTIONS

Here at the Jewish Federation, it is our responsibility to advocate for Israel and every Jewish community around the world. We provide support to ensure Jewish identity continues to thrive and that the safety, security, and well being of Jews are maintained globally.

For someone like Ram, Jewish Federation funding helped an at-risk middle schooler become more social and gain confidence in himself. Ram has been in the Youth Futures program for two years, working with Haggai at the Agamin School in Tzfat. Youth Futures is a revolutionary mentoring program that works to provide Israel’s at-risk children and their families with the support needed to build self-esteem and confidence, improve school performance, and become independent, productive members of Israeli society.

Ram is the second child in his family of four children. He lives with his mother and siblings at his grandmother’s house because of the family’s financial situation. His father is not in touch with Ram or his siblings, and of course, this greatly impacts Ram.

When Haggai first met Ram, he met a child with a great deal of anger. One who blamed the whole world, felt that everyone was against him, cried a lot, and behaved aggressively. He was known to have a mental disorder and was a psychiatric patient, treated with therapy and medication. Ram was addicted to screens and spent all his time on the computer, spending no time at all with children his age.

Right from the beginning, Ram related well to Haggai. He saw Haggai as a big brother, or even a “father” in his mother’s words, who supports, encourages, and invests time in him. They found a common language and shared hobbies, and the relationship felt natural very quickly. Throughout their time together, they worked a lot on Ram’s social situation and on the importance of going outside to play. They learned from the beginning how to make contact with people and Haggai saw Ram blossom in front of his eyes. They had many heart-to-heart talks about Ram’s actual family situation compared to the desirable situation, and together they learned to accept what exists and to accept oneself and grow from it.

Today, Ram stays in the classroom with the computer less and instead goes outside to play with friends or participate in sports lessons. He is calmer, he smiles, he is attentive to himself and others, and he understands and recognizes his mistakes.

Global connections programming is just the start of building a strong and vibrant Jewish community. Together, we make an IMPACT.

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