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ESRA Punching Above its Weight!

Ouch ... Frankie Cronin throws a neat right. Story and photo by Brian Fink

ESRA Karmiel branch raises money for a variety of causes, with the common thread that local young people benefit. These are, after all, the citizens of tomorrow, and too many start life with disadvantages of one kind or another. In addition to the many challenges that today's youngsters everywhere face, Israeli youth also has to cope with compulsory military service to keep the country safe. If social problems also go into the mix, then how much more difficult is life for those young people?

There is in Karmiel a 'Bayit Cham' (warm home) for adolescent girls who come from homes where there are social problems. Often they cannot go straight home after school for a variety of reasons. Sometimes there is violence at home, and some of these youngsters consequently adopt aggression as a safety valve for their pent-up emotions.

Some time ago, ESRA Karmiel was approached by the municipal Social Services department, whose budget didn't stretch to a request from the Bayit Cham for Thai kick-boxing equipment. While this request may seem, at first glance, a little odd for young girls' use, it was explained that this activity helps channel their aggression harmlessly. Otherwise it may well lead to fights or even common assault, and perhaps an appearance in a magistrates' court. Could we help, the department wanted to know.

Committee members said 'yes, of course we can' and consequently the home now has the said equipment where, under strict professional supervision, the girls punch and kick their frustrations away without injuring anyone.

We received a polite 'thank-you' letter and thought that that was the end of the matter. Not quite! It appears that an official from the Social Services department, who wasn't privy to the original request, visited the home, saw the equipment and enquired from whence it came. When it was explained, the official further enquired if the committee members had been invited to view it and meet the staff.

Rather shamefacedly, it is suspected, the home staff said 'no', and as a result our committee members and others were invited to Bayit Cham for a light lunch, to receive a personal thanks and, of course, view the sports equipment for which it had raised the necessary funds.

It does help to give a sense of purpose to view the physical object of one's efforts and make personal contact with the recipients. All the visitors came away feeling just a little more proud that they had accomplished what ESRA does best — made a difference! 



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Thursday, 07 December 2023

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