From July onwards, for over one month and a half, Israeli children will stop going to school and will start their summer vacation. This marks the beginning of a dangerous period for the children in the care of the Jaffa Institute.
Indeed, as the school year ends, most Israeli children look forward to a long break filled with fun, games and relaxation. However, many of the parents of the children in our care cannot afford to pay for summer camps and need to keep working long hours.
As a result, in July and August, the children in our care find themselves unattended for most of the day. With Jaffa’s crime and drug abuse rates almost twice the national average, children on the streets are often placed in at-risk situations related to drugs, violence, and other forms of crime.
In addition to the dangers presented by this situation, these children will not enjoy the benefits provided by an experience at a summer camp. Indeed, such programs are known to give children the opportunity to develop leadership skills in a low pressure atmosphere as well as provide them with responsibilities that they may not otherwise be exposed to in a different environment. In addition to developing their leadership and social skills, an experience at a summer camp helps children gain self-esteem.
The Jaffa Institute believes that such benefits should be offered to all children, no matter how wealthy their parents are. Therefore, we organize an Annual Summer Camp that over 150 at-risk children attend. The summer camp takes place in our four after-school activity centers in the Greater Jaffa area.
The Annual Summer Camp aims to provide disadvantaged children with a safe and enriching alternative to being left at home unsupervised or exposed to the dangers of the streets. In addition, this program provides a “hook” to disadvantaged children to engage them in positive activities which can enhance their social, academic and personal growth.
Finally, our summer camp program is unique as our Therapeutic Center remains open in the summer in order to allow the children who receive social and educational support services during the school year to continue their therapy program without a break.