News from the ground: Despite COVID-19 look what’s happening at the Jaffa Institute in Israel!
During these unprecedented times, our diverse programs are admirably operating in adjusted capacities to continue meeting the needs of our at-risk program participants. Below are the current operation strategies of each program along with their funding needs. Educational and Therapeutic Programming: Work Plan Operating in an emergency-status remote capacity, all educational and therapeutic programs are offering online learning and virtual therapy for students and their parents, with the exception of the Neve Ofer House, which, as an emergency residential facility, continues to operate in person. After-School Educational Enrichment Centers The current objective of these programs is to maintain each Center’s social support network, uphold daily communication between staff, children, and parents, and offer the children daily activities and challenges to keep them mentally and physically engaged at home. Program staff are implementing these objectives by operating WhatsApp groups for staff, students, and parents for daily communication via text messages, phone calls, and video chats. Further to these communications, staff maintain progress notes on each program participant to track their development during the remote learning period. In turn, the staff use their knowledge of the children to plan and implement appropriate educational enrichment programming that is conducive to their emotional and educational state.
Additionally, all families whose children attend the After-School Educational Enrichment Centers receive nutritional support through weekly food packages delivered to each family’s door side. Furthermore, the asylum seeker and foreign worker families receive translation services and informational leaflets to ensure their full comprehension of government safety regulations and health services available to them during this pandemic.
In this time, the Graduate Club is geared toward the objective of maintaining contact with graduates of the Jaffa Institute’s programs while gathering data on their progress in the organization’s internal records. This is implemented through phone calls to graduates conducted by program staff.
Each week, the Science Mobile’s program manager produces educational videos with unique lessons and activities on various scientific topics to educate and engage program participants during their time at home. This staff member centers all activities around objects easily found at home, making the content inclusive and appropriate for disadvantaged populations. After watching the video, the students then complete the activity, sending a photograph or video of the completed project to the staff. In this way, the staff follow up with the students on the efficacy of the activities and track their feedback to optimize future videos.
Operating through one-on-one video chats, the Jump Start program aims to assist program participants with their daily homework assignments through remote assistance from the Jaffa Institute’s tutors. To implement this, the staff create a coordinated weekly calendar that matches tutors to their students during various hours throughout the week.
Parent-Child Center (Jaffa and Kfar Shalem)
The staff at both Parent-Child Centers are working diligently to maintain communication with parents across the various neighborhoods they serve. Through weekly phone calls and video chats, the staff remain apprised of each family’s emotional and practical needs while providing support, advice, and useful information. The Centers also upkeep active Facebook pages to inform the community of all virtual offerings, which include engaging videos of songs and dances that families can practice at home. Additionally, the program is delivering arts-and-crafts materials safely delivered to the homes of each family to provide an educational and therapeutic outlet in this trying time.
משפחות יקרות, לקראת סוף השבוע צילמנו עבורכן את שיר התופים. זה הזמן לקחת סירים או קופסאות ולהתחיל לתופף ביחד. שיהיה סוף שבוע רגוע ושקט. נזכיר שאנחנו כאן עבורכם, בפייסבוק ובטלפון.
Posted by מרכז הורים ילדים גפן on Thursday, April 2, 2020
Neve Ofer House
Due to its essential nature, the Neve Ofer House continues to operate and shelter all participants while abiding by the Ministry of Health regulations to ensure the children’s safety in the face of the pandemic. As such, children living at the Neve Ofer House are no longer allowed to visit their biological families or friends outside of the home. To accommodate for the prolonged periods spent in the House, the residential staff have created extra educational and recreational activities. Additionally, staff have immersed the children in the home hygiene and cleaning initiatives in order to increase their sense of agency in this uncertain time. Further, the Jaffa Institute has increased food and hygiene supplies to prepare the House for all foreseeable needs.
Yoni, a 9th grade student, has lived at the Neve Ofer House for four years. In his time at the House, Yoni has grown accustomed to his set weekly schedule: attending school during the day, tutoring with Noa, the resident National Service Volunteer in the afternoon, and practicing sports in the evening. At the end of the week, Yoni would visit his biological family. In March, Yoni’s daily life, along with the rest of the world, changed. Nothing was the same anymore; there were no more bus rides to school, sports practice, or visits and trips outside of the House. This sudden loss of structure triggered Yoni with the feelings of instability that were all too familiar to him from his childhood. Consequently, the resident “House parents” who lead the program were on high alert, fearing that Yoni and the other House children’s bubbling anxiety may spark destructive behavior. Amid restructuring the House’s daily programming to become a stimulating and warm environment for the children to spend their entire days in for the foreseeable future, the House parents received a pleasant surprise as one of the National Service volunteers decided she would spend the lockdown at Neve Ofer House. To Yoni’s excitement, it was Noa. In the midst of the chaos in the outside world, Yoni retained the stabilizing familiarity of his tutoring sessions with Noa, a reminder that, despite his difficult childhood, he has people who he can depend on and trust.
Five weeks into the lockdown, for the first time ever, all children in the Neve Ofer House celebrated Passover together. Sitting around the table, the House mother and father, their biological children, all 11 program participants, and Noasang, ate, and chatted the evening away. Looking around the table, Yoni was reminded that home is where the heart is, and that family — biological or not — brings true happiness . That unconventional evening, despite all setbacks, Yoni was calm, joyful, and fulfilled. He was the proudest member of the Neve Ofer family.
In this period, Kangaroo staff maintains virtual contact with the program’s participants and their parents while gathering data on their progress in the organization’s internal records. This is implemented through phone calls in which staff provide an outlet for the teenagers and their parents to express their feelings and thoughts while equipping them with the perspective and tools to transcend their challenges during this time. As a part of our ongoing partnership with the municipality, our program staff keeps the social welfare authorities aware of the state of each Kangaroo participant.
Stepping Stone (Yehud)
In order to maintain healthy communication with the at-risk teenage girls that attend Stepping Stone, program staff engage in WhatsApp dialogue as well as phone calls and video chats with each program participant. This communication is conducive to reducing dangerous behavior though increased support and guidance to navigate through this difficult time. Additionally, staff provides educational support to ensure the teens stay on-track with their online learning assignments. Each week, the Jaffa Institute’s staff reports on the teens progress to our partners at the social welfare authorities.
Jaffa Daled Youth Club
To continue the foundation created in the Jaffa Daled Youth Club, program staff maintain healthy virtual communication with the at-risk teenagers through WhatsApp dialogue as well as phone calls and video chats with each program participant. This communication is conducive to reducing dangerous behavior though increased support and guidance to navigate through this difficult time. Additionally, staff provides educational support to ensure the teens stay on-track with their online learning assignments. Each week, the Jaffa Institute’s staff reports on the teens’ progress to our partners at the social welfare authorities.
Holocaust Survivor Programming
Accompanying the Elderly (Tel Aviv and Bat Yam)
Isolated in their homes with limited mobility, elderly individuals, including Holocaust survivors, are particularly vulnerable during this global crisis. The program’s staff members and volunteers conduct bi-weekly phone calls to all elderly individuals in order to provide social stimulation as well as an outlet to express their feelings. Additionally, these phone calls serve as an opportunity to review the evolving needs of elderly individuals quarantined in a pandemic. The reports that each staff or volunteer log during these calls informs the continued operation of the Jaffa Institute during this time. Responsive to their unique needs, program staff began providing virtual therapeutic support to address the program participants’ feelings of loneliness, fears of contracting the virus, and anxieties regarding food security. Sadly, many program participants have shared feelings of re-traumatization as the increased presence of soldiers and police in the street along with restricted mobility reminds them of haunting childhood experiences of the Holocaust. To improve their mental health, the Jaffa Institute is providing 300 Holocaust survivors with intensive weekly therapy via phone. Additionally, the Jaffa Institute aims to provide these individuals with essential food, hygiene, and medical supplies to minimize their need to go out and risk exposure to the virus.
Food Distribution Center
Since the start of the lockdown, the Food Distribution Center has not only continued working daily, but has increased its capacity in response to our community’s growing needs as this unprecedented situation has caused great financial strain on families in our nutritionally-insecure service area. As such, the Jaffa Institute needs to secure the funding for 550 food packages for disadvantaged families in Greater Tel Aviv-Jaffa.
In order to continue providing vital support services for at-risk youth, families, elderly individuals, Holocaust survivors during this unique period of operational response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jaffa Institute requires $450,000 per month for as long as the crisis persists.