The Pele Program at Hefziba Community Center
The vision of Avi Talala, the devoted director of the Community Center, is to strengthen the people of the community and to aid in their integration into Israeli society as valued and contributing citizens while preserving their culture.
This past school year we continued a program very close to our hearts: The "PELE" program - an educational and empowerment program for children at risk from the Ethiopian community. The program provides lessons for elementary school kids in computers, English, Hebrew, Math, and complementary learning assistance as well as help with homework assignments in small group sessions held after school hours. Notably, the program helps close learning gaps for students in preparation for the difficult transition to junior high school. We would like to thank our donors The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee and Hands on Tzedakah, for their contribution that has helped fund the PELE program this past year.
The results of the program are astounding. The participants show great improvement in their scholastic achievements, social behavior and in their self-confidence. Those children who attended the program when it began 8 years ago are now in grades 10-12 and they are a wonderful example of the success of the program: besides the improvement in their scholastic achievements, they are active in the community and are leaders in the neighborhood, including volunteering within the Community Center and the "Pele" program itself.
They are also active in the neighborhood youth council and young leadership programs. Several received awards from the Mayor for being outstanding volunteers and others were chosen to represent Israel (and Netanya) in programs abroad (England and the USA). The road to success for these children began with their participation in the "Pele" program, where they received much-needed reinforcements and support, and gained basic abilities, which enabled them to develop the necessary confidence, motivation and drive needed to reach such significant accomplishments. The Hefziba Community Center in Shikun Vatikim neighborhood in Netanya serves 1700 people. It is situated in a very highly populated community of immigrants from Ethiopia (over 97 %).
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