Erez Family Club in Ramat Eshkol – Helping Children at Risk

Activities at the Erez Family Club in Ramat Eshkol – Helping Children at Risk
Dec 2010

Tamar Geva, an instructor at the Family Club tells us about the place:

My name is Tamar, and I am currently in my fifth year as an instructor at the Erez Family Club. This is a Family Club for children who are at risk, which is managed by the welfare, together with the Ministry of Education and Keren Ashkelon.
Children between the ages of eight and twelve spend six hours a day, five days at week at the Family Club. The children receive warm meals, lunch and dinner, they are helped with their home work, receive enrichment activities, an attentive ear, a warm hug and most importantly values and life tools.

Most of the children come from single parent families with very difficult economic situations, the mothers usually work as cleaners in order to support the children, it is very important that the children remain within the framework of the Family Club, if this was not the case, the children would be walking around the streets and would not get a warm meal, or any help with their homework, and they would be exposed to the negative behaviors that occur in their neighborhood on a daily basis.

In order to understand more about the importance of the Family Club for these children, I would like to tell you about one of our graduates, who completed her stay at the Family Club two years ago.

This child was ostracized in her class at school because of her behavior. She suffered from ADHD, and her mother refused to give her suitable treatment, all the people around her, her teachers and fellow pupils rejected her because of her behavior, she almost dropped out of the school system, she went to school less and less, and either stayed home or walked around the streets. Her mother had to work from the morning until the evening to support the family and could not cope with what was going on with her daughter.
I decided not to give up and first of all not to demand that she behave like the rest of the children, but rather to hug her and to love her as she was, she was actually treated separately from the rest of the group, until we won her trust, and slowly we became her second home, she loved us and she trusted us. She was transferred to another school and we bridged between her and her new school, we were able to summarize what she had to do and what we could let her get away with, and that enabled her to continue studying at elementary school, pleasantly and quietly.
When she left the Family Club we held a very nice farewell party for her, with a year book and book of memories - there was even some crying.
Today this child is studying in a WIZO boarding school and is really enjoying herself, we have met with her mother and spoken to her a number of times, and she is very thankful to us, and told us that it is only because of the Family Club that we daughter was accepted to the boarding school, because her situation prior to that would not have permitted it.
After the child finished the sixth grade she requested to continue to visit the Family Club and we are happy every time we hear from her or she when visits us.