(Jerusalem -- September 13, 2004) -- Programs for youth at risk are themselves at risk because of the severe financial crisis in many Israeli institutions and organizations devoted to aiding children. Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, has stepped forward to help with an allocation of $250,000 to support 13 endangered programs for youth at risk.
"The optimism of a new year notwithstanding, we can't celebrate the High Holidays without doing something significant for youth at risk," said Hadassah National President June Walker.
The Israeli government has identified one out of five children as being at risk. A downslide in the economy, government cutbacks in social services caused by defense and security demands and the trauma resulting from ongoing terrorist attacks have created a growing number of children in crisis. Four years ago, Hadassah began providing seed money for new programs primarily in communities beyond the organizations traditional framework of assisting Youth Aliyah programs.
On Sunday, Walker presented checks to the following volunteer programs, many on Israel's periphery.
Etgarim: Sailing lessons for physically and emotionally challenged children; Ashdod;
Sderot Community Center: Music center including instruments, tape library and lessons; Sderot;
Crossroads: A photography course for troubled teenagers, mostly dropouts, among Orthodox Jewish immigrants from the US; Jerusalem;
Beit Hashanti: A therapeutic arts program for runaways and street kids; Tel Aviv;
The National Council for the Child: Law students serve as children's personal mentors through the ordeal of testifying in court after experiencing abuse or witnessing violent crime;
ALON Social Involvement Organization: High school graduates volunteer to tutor and provide recreational opportunities for disadvantaged children aged 7-14; Lod;
EIVO Ethiopian Immigrants Volunteer Organization: "Jump Start," a program for prevention of violence among youth through physical and self-defense training; Hadera;
Ashalim: Comprehensive interdisciplinary services for abused and neglected children; Jerusalem;
National Hotline for the Prevention of Domestic Violence for Children at Risk: Group training for children to help identify abuse; training for school guidance counselors to identify symptoms of abuse;
Mahapach Learning Communities: Tutoring project that teaches parents to work with their children on homework and school projects; Sderot, Kiryat Shmoneh;
Noar Oved VeLomed: Tutoring and after-school activities for children in Kiryat-Moshe Rehovot;
Beit Reshet Anti-Drug Project: Immediate residential shelter for teen drug addicts, Ashdod;
Tespachin: A Youth Club in the Ethiopian community to help students cope with school and develop leadership skills and self-confidence; Yavne.