Midreshet Amit

Avital Mannis and Alex Thurm (AMIT 2011-12)

Yom Ha'atzmaut Message to SAR Students

Chag Sameach from Yerushalayim. This year we chose to come to Midreshet Amit for a true and unique Chessed experience in Israel. At Midreshet Amit we truly live Chessed. We share a building with the foster kids here in Gilo's foster home. We also get to spend four afternoons a week working with our assigned families. We each have our own 'Mishpacha' that includes 10-12 kids from all different backgrounds. Most of the kids come from abusive homes or extreme poverty. Our job here is simple- we want to bring joy and laughter to these kids who experienced hardships that no one, especially a child, should ever have to endure.

A couple months ago it was a girl in my mishpacha's birthday. She was looking forward to it for weeks because her mostly absentee mother promised to come on her birthday to celebrate with her. All day she sat by the window waiting for her mother, refusing to engage in the birthday activities we had prepared for her. As the girl's bedtime approached and it was clear her mother was not coming I realized I could not let her birthday end in sadness. I went around to all the mishpachot and gathered anyone I could find to meet me downstairs with all the candy I could get my hands on to make a party for this girl. We ended up singing karaoke and stuffing our faces with gummy worms and having a great night. Although it was clearly not the same and nothing can replace a mother's love, we helped her end her birthday with some fun.

One of my proudest moments this year with one of the girls in my family, a ten year old named Leron. I usually help her with math hw but at times it can be frustrating and unsuccessful. Like any other 10 year old, math is very difficult for her. It can be hard to instruct someone how to do something challenging without speaking their language. So I deiced to try and make it easier and more enjoyable for her to learn her times table. I made colored coded index cards with the equations and answers on them. It took me a while to make but shortly after playing with her I saw it was worth it. We played for awhile in order to prepare her for her test she had that week. When I came one afternoon to do hw with the kids she ran and gave me a huge hug. She ran to her backpack and pulled at the math test. She got an 100 which was the first time she got an 100 in math. That for me was one of my favorite moments in my year at Amit. While working with my family I didn't really see the direct result of what I am doing. However that day I saw my efforts make a ten year old smile so big that I felt so proud that I had something to do with it.

Coming from SAR and our loving families in America we can see how truly lucky our upbringing was. Today you guys have the opportunity to join us in helping to make a difference in these kids lives.