We all know that kid – the one who shines a little brighter, does things just a little better, makes people feel good about themselves. Erez was that kid. Then something changed, and by his third year in high school, he was a different kid.
Poor grades were the least of his troubles. He’d begun cutting school, swore off old friends, and then there were vandalism and theft. His school counselor found out Erez’s parents could no longer give him the safety, stability, and support he needed at home.
The counselor also found a program that can – Gesher El Hanoar. Bridge For Youth, as it translates, helps young people growing up in dangerous or stressful environments. Its provides nourishing meals, quiet space to rest, and help with education, personal empowerment, cultural and social activities, sports, and “tender loving care.” And because military service often holds the key to success in the civilian world after discharge, the program helps participants transition to promising positions in the IDF or national service corps.
One of Gesher el Hanoar’s main values is giving back to the community. Erez went on to do so in the extreme. While serving in the IDF, during an anti-terrorism operation, Erez saved the life of his commanding officer. In subsequent operations, that officer saved many others.
People like you, who donate to the Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey, helped save Erez because your dollars support Gesher El Hanoar. That means you helped save his commanding officer, and the countless others the officer saved. The ripple effect of our impact together is real.
But there are hundreds more like Erez, sadly still bouncing in and out of school and spending much of their time on the streets. For a variety of reasons, ranging from economic difficulties, cultural differences, war, and both mental and physical disabilities, their parents and homes no longer provide safe and healthy environments for teens evolving into young adults.
Without your donations, we can’t help all the other kids like Erez, and the ripple effects of that are tragic. Please don’t let one more kid like Erez fall through the cracks. Please make your donation today.