Taking a bow at the end-of-the-year show at the Ir Yamin Community Center, Netanya Photo: Elad Argaman
This article is not about me. Well, it is also about me. But I must share with you how this evolution came about. I have been a supporter and member of ESRA since its establishment. I was never involved in any activities nor did I need the services it provided; however, I felt it was an important organization which deserved my support.
Around five years ago, I became a magazine distributor in my neighborhood - a true challenge, considering barking dogs, absence of mailboxes or clearly marked addresses! Nevertheless, I faithfully delivered magazines on my route and felt I was doing something fruitful. And losing at least 59 grams each time!
Two years ago, Yonit Gurfinkel, the previous CEO of ESRA, convinced me to get more involved with ESRA activities. I became interested in STUDENTS BUILD A COMMUNITY in Netanya. My husband and I contributed to the “accommodation-scholarship” fund and the rest is history.
Since then, I have become more involved with this incredible project, attending activities and special events as well as meetings. Sitting back and observing all of this, along with learning about future plans for the coming year, is truly exhausting! The energy put into these things is simply never-ending. The passion for the programs as well as the belief in the students and children is huge. I feel very fortunate to be involved in such an organization and to work with ESRA volunteers and professionals and Students Build a Community.
Children performing on stage. Right: Ofer Orenstein, a Netanya councilor who started the Students Build a Community project and is head of the SBC Steering Committee
On June 6, 2017, “we” (yes, I can say “we” because I feel very much a part of it all now) commemorated the 10th year of Students Build a Community in Netanya. The gala event took place at the Community Center in Ir Yamim, Netanya. (See page…..). Fun was had by all. It was an inspiring evening.
As I drove home, I felt a mixture of feelings: I felt sadness - because of the gap which exists between the disadvantaged and the rest of Israel’s population and which seems to be growing. I felt frustrated because it seems that the gap is so hard to fix.
Yet, I felt happiness and pride that I am a part of an organization such as ESRA that wants to do something about this situation. We don’t just sit and complain about the situation. Nor do we turn our backs and pretend it isn’t there. We are active and pro-active. Things are happening. I want to believe that it will get better - much, much better.
The numbers speak for themselves: Thirty-five students working with 138 young children. And this is the tenth year of this wonderful program.
I am so pleased that I have taken on this additional position with ESRA and am able to contribute from my knowledge and experience. However, I will not give up my magazine distribution route. After all, it is great exercise.