NATIONAL SERVICE GIRLS MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE AT ALEH!
A generous donation enabled ALEH Jerusalem to add two additional girls to its cadre of bnot sherut during the 2016-2017 academic year. It would be no exaggeration to say that Esti and Hodaya are truly changing lives at ALEH Jerusalem.
Hodaya, who lives in Maaleh Adumim, was born in Israel to parents who had immigrated from Ethiopia in their teens. It was important to her parents that their children be completely “Israeli,” and as such, they chose to live in a neighborhood that had no Ethiopian immigrants, so that their children to be entirely immersed in Israeli culture. Hodaya was previously coordinator of her Bnei Akiva chapter in Caesarea, and began her national service in another framework. However, she felt that she was not making a difference there and, luckily for us, asked to be transferred, arriving at ALEH Jerusalem. She is the first volunteer of Ethiopian origin at the center.
Hodaya integrated into ALEH’s framework for older children, which comprises four vocational classes of eight children each. Before Hodaya arrived at ALEH, only two bnot sherut were involved with the program for older children, and Hodaya’s addition has increased the number by a very significant 50%, enabling assistance in three of the four classes. The National Service girls help the older residents in their vocational tasks and in eating, and help to organize events and activities, such as the recent Memorial Day ceremony that Hodaya planned.
Hodaya has established a very special relationship with Efrat, one of ALEH’s residents, and even decided to take her home, to her own family, in Maaleh Adumim, for the Pesach Seder and first day of the holiday. Hodaya made sure that Efrat had a special new dress for the occasion and, as Efrat needs to be fed, Hodaya also took care of feeding her throughout the holiday.
Esti comes from Givat Shmuel, Esti has been integrated into a high-level school class, and helps out wherever she is needed. Each additional staff member on hand makes a significant difference in advancing the students, both physically and educationally. Esti’s responsibilities include helping the children exercise on motorized chairs, in communication groups and much more. She often accompanies residents who need to go out of the residence for medical treatment.
Esti has initiated projects and established special relationships with residents, demonstrating her incredible devotion and care for ALEH’s children. One example is her initiative to ensure that all residents have special clothes for Shabbat – something beyond the traditional blue and white that they usually wear – a unique Shabbat dress or pants and shirt, just like other children. So she set about finding donors – both private individuals who were willing to donate money, and stores that were willing to donate clothing – and she hopes that, by the end of the year, each child will dress in his or her special clothes each Shabbat and holiday.
Esti also makes great efforts to show her love for individual children. Oriya, one of ALEH’s residents, needed to be hospitalized for an operation. As Oriya has no contact with her family, there was no one to accompany her. Esti spent three entire days by Oriya’s bedside, and also worked to initiate contact between Oriya and her mother. Oriya is scheduled to have another operation in the near future, and Esti is planning to be by her side once again.
Sarah is another ALEH resident who has no connection with her family. Esti stepped in and joined Sarah up with a family – that of Akiva, one of ALEH’s volunteers. Akiva’s family lives in Neve Daniel, and they have truly adopted Sarah. But Esti didn’t stop at making this connection. She also found a donor to contribute funds for Sarah’s transportation to and from Neve Daniel. Sarah now spends every 3rd Shabbat and holidays with her adopted family. Initially, Esti went with Sarah, to help her settle in, but since last week, Sarah has been going on her own. And she has begun to address Akiva’s mother as “mom,” a word that she has never had the opportunity to use in the past.
These stories exemplify the incredibly positive impact that these two girls have had on ALEH’s children.
WE ARE LOOKING FOR DONORS WHO WILL SUPPORT THE ADDITIONAL NATIONAL SERVICE GIRLS AT ALEH JERUSALEM IN THE COMING YEAR.
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