WIZO helps Israel’s most precious resource.
By Cinthya Poreh and Wayne Keil
Israel is a wondrous place. It has quite literally turned the desert green. Despite having to fight for its survival on a daily basis, the country continues to lead the world in technological achievements that have revolutionized everything from the computer chip to water filtration. All of this in just over 60 years! Of course, these kinds of achievements come at a cost. Israelis know all too well how challenging it is to make a living and hold a family together under such pressure. Israel is as difficult as it is beautiful. Imagine how you would feel as a working or single parent unable to afford good child care? We as parents, and especially as Jews, believe in the vital importance of education in forging our children’s futures. We know that positive, caring and loving early childhood experiences form a strong foundation for their future learning and sense of belonging. We understand that for Israel to continue to be a strong nation, it must ensure the well being of its children and its families. That same belief is at the core of WIZO’s mission.
The 250,000 female members of WIZO (Women’s International Zionist Organization) in over 50 countries worldwide are passionate about caring for the people of Israel. In particular, WIZO responds directly to the needs of Israel’s most disadvantaged citizens in order to make a real difference in their quality of life so that they will emerge with confidence, self-esteem and purpose into Israeli society. WIZO, in partnership with the Israeli government, offers and supports dozens of educational enrichment programs to help secure the future of Israel’s children. More than 50,000 children between the ages of 6 months and 18 years attend WIZO facilities, making WIZO the operator of the largest network of educational facilities in Israel after the Israeli government.
One of WIZO’s most inspiring fund-raising programs is called Sponsor A Child. By donating to this cause, one has the uniquely rewarding opportunity to impact an Israeli child’s future forever. Contributions made to the Sponsor A Child program go directly to support over 180 day care centers throughout the country, caring for over 15,000 children from the ages of 4 months to 4 years. Most day care centers cater to children from working parents or single parents who can’t afford to pay for day care. There are also centers designed for high-risk children who have been pulled out of their homes or found on the streets, as well as centers for special needs children with autism, Down syndrome, and other physical or developmental disabilities. WIZO provides these children with food, enrichment classes, and most of all a loving and caring atmosphere where they can feel safe. Each day is built around a core of therapeutic activities, stimulating educational games and healthy social interaction.
A child’s well-being is not complete without a healthy and strong parent-child relationship. WIZO’s approach is to view the child as being within the context of his or her family and the community. To that end, significant importance is given at the centers to work with the parents through special programs designed for the treatment and prevention of violence, neglect and abuse in the families.
WIZO Florida plays an important role in the Sponsor A Child initiative by raising money throughout the year and through special events. On May 4th a Mother’s Day Luncheon will be held at the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center. This luncheon is an annual Sponsor A Child event that will feature entertainment and a wonderful bazaar for shopping. As parents and as Jews, I can’t think of a better gift for Mother’s Day than the gift of knowing you have helped change the life of an Israeli child forever.