Summer has arrived! School will let out for the high school students in the middle of June and the elementary school children will continue their studies until the end of June. But the weather has already changed and the summer sun is beating strongly everywhere in Israel. No more rain. No more clouds. Lots of summer heat! During the month of June, the children are in the playgrounds and at the pool during the afternoon hours. Once school is out, they are outside all day long.
Many mothers work in Israel, because most families rely on the salaries of both parents to make ends meet. But that means that during the summer months, parents struggle to find safe and loving supervision for their children during the parents’ working hours. During the first three weeks of July, the youngest children have subsidized day-camp programs that cover part of the day. But the rest of the summer is difficult. For those who struggle to make ends meet, there just isn’t extra money for babysitters or structured day care. Grandmothers are often drafted to help, but so many grandmothers work themselves. Long summer days which should be carefree and joyful, can be a difficult time.
CFOIC Heartland has been approached by several communities to help with the unique challenges presented by summer. The Samaria Social Services Department is desperately in need of funds to provide day care options for needy elementary school children beyond the subsidies provided by the national government. Other communities seek assistance in constructing playground equipment, furnishing youth centers and funding youth programs, and providing play centers for the youngest children. Each of these facilities provide recreational solutions for children and teen-agers all year long but during the summer months, they are essential.
I well remember the long days of summer when I was a child. I loved the lazy feel of sleeping late, going to the pool and reading books until my eyes were red from the strain. But my mother was a teacher and didn’t work in the summer. I was blissfully unaware that some mothers struggled to find child-care solutions.
As a young mother, I well remember the challenges I faced. I had moved from the US to Israel and we had no family in the country who could help with the children in the summer. I spent my entire salary on child-care options and it was not easy.
I invite you to join me to ensure that the children of Judea and Samaria can enjoy a care-free, happy summer and that their parents can work without worrying about the safety of their children. What a wonderful summer that would be for us all!
Sondra Oster Baras
Director, Israel Office
P.S. With your help, we can provide subsidized day care and fund the equipment and programming in communities that will turn empty hours into wonderful, constructive fun, for so many children of Israel. Please give a gift today to provide day care options for needy elementary school children, construction of playground equipment, furnishing and funding youth programs, and providing play centers for the youngest children of Judea and Samaria.