"Knowing it and seeing it are two different things."
ESRA has introduced ESRA Ambassadors- a brand new program to show the world the amazing work we are doing in helping disadvantaged individuals and disadvantaged communities.
For 24 years ESRA has been involved in running wonderful projects, but we have been guilty of hiding our light under a bushel and failing to tell everybody about our contribution towards building a better Israel. The fantastic work being done by ESRA volunteers needs to be appreciated by a wider audience and why shouldn't we proudly tell everyone about our successes?
To list all our projects and give the full details about each one would simply take too long, but let's just look at a few in no particular order:
Bayit Cham is a project in which ESRA assists in providing a refuge for teenage girls (13-17 years old) at risk in the after-school hours. They come from broken families or poor homes, but ESRA's 'home from home' offers a warm and safe environment with social and counseling activities, and the girls are given a hot tasty meal – probably the only one of the day.
Kfar Shmaryahu Social Club is an exceptional story of how ESRA has helped to develop a social framework and group identity amongst youngsters who are severely disabled. They meet every week in the community center in Kfar Shmaryahu, but they come from all over the area. The local council provides the venue and the mayor often pops in to show his support. ESRA pays for the coordinator, transport and special equipment that is needed and, of course, provides lots of volunteers.
Students Build a Community is our flagship and is now operating three identical projects in separate disadvantaged areas of Netanya as a joint venture with the municipality - Hefzibah, which is now in its eighth year, Kiryat Nordau which has been running for four years and Sela which started in September 2014.
Carefully chosen students at local universities actually live in these neighborhoods with their rent paid jointly by ESRA and the Netanya Municipality. In return each one of them mentors four of the weaker school children from the area, helping them with school work as well as social skills.
Through the education of the children the whole community benefits, and our experience has shown an unbelievable success rate and a huge improvement in the general standards within the neighborhoods – including the amazing statistic of an 80% reduction in the crime rate in Hefzibah.
With ESRA's participation in such unbelievably successful ventures why shouldn't we shout about them? We certainly do have plenty to be proud of!
ESRA Ambassadors is a two-tier program designed to encourage interest from both within Israel and abroad.
In English-speaking countries we are creating small groups of speakers to address synagogues and private home meetings. We have developed a dedicated program including a short film and a PowerPoint presentation to support our speakers so that their audiences can be introduced to ESRA's work.
In Israel we also intend to make you our own ESRA members more familiar with the projects you are helping to support every time you participate in one of our lectures, hikes, outings or fundraising events.
We want you to join us and visit the projects to understand how your contributions are actually benefiting those in need.
The same also applies to non-members, many of whom are regular readers of ESRA Magazine. We want to offer them the opportunity to witness for themselves the changes ESRA is helping to make towards creating a better Israeli society.
The unique offer by ESRA Ambassadors is to accompany overseas visitors to see our projects for themselves in a personalized private tour.
All of us have visitors from abroad from time to time, and it will definitely enhance their trip if they can spend one free weekday afternoon to view Israel from a different perspective. ESRA Ambassadors will arrange to collect them from their hotels (preferably in the Tel Aviv to Netanya area) and take them to see for themselves what ESRA is doing in the projects in a live situation. Seeing is understanding - and we would like them to understand - and then repeat the wonderful stories of their personal experience to their communities back home.
ESRA is known throughout Israel, but now we deserve to receive international recognition for what we have become - the leading English-speaking NGO in Israel.
So please contact us to arrange your visit or a visit for your family and friends from abroad.
Looking forward to hearing from you – why not help ESRA to show your visitors what we are doing?