By Judi Argaman and Nina Zuck
The holidays are behind us. Activities have begun.
"Notes and News from Heftzibah" will offer you a peek into ESRA's various activities in the neighborhood from a personal perspective.
(1) Gifts for Babies from The ESRA Knitting Circle
Rika Meyerowitz presented me with 15 hand-knitted beautiful sweaters for the little ones, made by the Netanya Knitting Circle. They were delivered to the Emuna Day Care Center in Heftzibah. The sweaters are beautiful, and the babies will keep warm.
(2) Contribution of games and toys
ESRA received a wonderful donation of toys and games for various ages from the daughter of another of our members, Berly Ratzer. Toys and games have been sorted and arranged and then delivered to the public kindergarten, to the day care center and to the playgroup, which is presently being established at the community center.
(3) "First Steps"
This is the second year of First Steps operating in the Heftzibah kindergarten. The purpose of the program is to work with the children who will be attending school in the following year, and to help them with basic skills, in order to be sure that they will be ready to begin their school career next year. The program operates from October until the end of July, and has a wonderful group of professional volunteers in the fields of early childhood education, speech therapy, special education, and more.
Students Build a Community (SBC)
Hefzibah has grown this year with 12 students participating in the program.The students have their children, the children are excited, and the meetings have started with the children and mentors writing up their Constitution of Rules!
The Sewing Center
Starts on the first Sunday in November.The participants were so keen to begin that they arrived two weeks earlier for their course. Our teacher, Varda Mendelsohn, has been with us for 15 years already and is accompanied in Hefzibah by Carol Lowenthal as the ESRA volunteer.
Right Track Center
This year the Right Tracks are making a change, from helping with homework by individual teachers to a Learning Strategies Course.Our kids from the SBC project who are now in Junior High School will be the beneficiaries, so we'll be keeping track of them into High School. Our new volunteer Doron Zieve will be keeping an eye on the progress.
The Computer Center
ESRA has upgraded the Center with brand new computers for the children, teens and adults, who are being taught computer skills at different levels throughout the day and evening.
Journey to Identity
The teenagers will be travelling to Ethiopia over Channukah after an eight-month course of Zionism, heritage and preparation for the IDF.They will be visiting their villages of origin and gaining an understanding of their Ethiopian Heritage and Israeli identity.
Scholarship Awards Event for our SBC Students
This year we will be awarding 14 Scholarships to our second, third and fourth year students in the SBC Project. Our students have already chosen their volunteering project, each adding another 120 hours of volunteering in the community.The ceremony will be held in the Hefzibah Community Center in November where the students will be meeting the donors and receiving the first part of their scholarships.
Ethnic Dance Group
This year we will be adding an advanced group, preparing them for performances, as well as a younger group just beginning. Aviva Frydman, our ESRA volunteer, is with them on a weekly basis, together with one of our scholarship students. We hope to give them lots of exposure this year.
Volume Music Center
ESRA's participation this year has increased and the teenagers are involved in courses in music, singing, voice control and the newest, deejaying. A vibrant and noisy mixture of delightful kids.
We're looking forward to an eventful year ahead and will keep you posted.If you'd like to become a part of this exciting adventure, please contact Cathy, our ESRA Projects Coordinator, at 09 950 8371 for more information.