The Jaffa Institute operates in some of the most deprived and poverty-stricken neighborhoods in Israel, where 50% of the population lives below the poverty line and 30% regularly receive local welfare services. These staggering statistics, combined with high unemployment rates, make these areas particularly vulnerable to instances of nutritional insecurity, crime, substance abuse, and violence. Many parents are unable to properly care for their children, which results in dire educational gaps, with a disconcertingly high number of children in our service area dropping out of school before completing the 12th grade.
Although children growing up in these neighborhoods have the potential to lead successful lives, neither their schools nor their parents possess the financial resources to provide them with the educational and therapeutic support that they need to overcome their challenges. Moreover, since the majority of parents work long hours, their children are typically left unsupervised in neighborhoods that are rife with drugs, crime, and violence.
To address the children’s needs, the Jaffa Institute operates over a dozen After-School Educational Enrichment Centers throughout Jaffa, South Tel Aviv, Bat Yam, and Yehud, which serve approximately 300 disadvantaged children from diverse backgrounds, ages 3-12. To ensure we serve those most in need of our assistance, the Jaffa Institute collaborates extensively with the municipal social welfare authorities, which refer all participants to our Centers as a result of their "at risk” status. At each Center, the children receive nutritional support and participate in holistic educational, therapeutic and recreational programming designed to close the educational gaps between at-risk children and their more advantaged peers, to develop the children’s social skills, selfesteem and self-efficacy, and to promote healthy relationships between the children and their parents. Providing participants with a safe and nurturing alternative to unsupervised hours on the streets, the Centers are open after-school every weekday during the school year and operate a camp program during all school vacations.
Three of the Centers are specifically tailored to address the unique academic, behavioral, and emotional needs of children with special needs, including learning, emotional, and/or behavioral disorders. By providing the children with ample individualized attention and developmentally-appropriate support, the staff help them to achieve their full potential.