Article by volunteer- Beit Yedidot Family Club

Family Home Care Clubs •

by: Lauren Zink, Nov 2010

A special personal message from Lauren Zink, a volunteer in Israel, Nov 17th 2010

Under the care of The Ashkelon Foundation there are eight children family care home clubs in Ashkelon. Here the children, who come from dysfunctional and singe parent families in poor neighborhoods, are provided with an environment where they can feel safe and loved.

Have you ever walked into a place and knew that was where you were meant to be? Ever since I was little I had wanted to carve out a section of my life to volunteer, and I wanted that volunteer work to be done in Israel. I expected to come here and experience some amazing moments that would not only improve the lives of others, but would also improve mine. I still have seven more months of volunteer work to do in Israel, but my life has already changed tremendously. I went to the Beit Yedidot ("House of Friendship") family club to interview the two caretakers there and get a general sense of the place. What I did not expect was that I would ask if I could return there every Sunday.

The Beit Yedidot is a very special place. In a general sense, it is a refuge for children to go to after school. Otherwise they would either be alone in their home all day, or outside in neighborhoods filled with drugs and alcohol.

In a less general sense, the Beit Yedidot has become a home for eleven lovely young kids. It is a place for them to come to every day after school; where they are greeted with a hug and a kiss, and asked how their day was. They do their homework, play with their friends, eat two home cooked meals with snacks in between, learn about Israel and its current events, and maybe most importantly, feel good about themselves.

Unfortunately, resources are currently limited. The children need basic necessities, such as clothes and school supplies both for the present and for upcoming years in their life. The family clubs also needs program tools such as; books, DVDs, games and other materials for the children to use. Beit Yedidot is just one of eight family clubs in Ashqelon, each one as amazing as the next. These children are the future of Israel and I feel fortunate to have been able to have spent the little amount of time I could with them.