Wednesday, April 28, 2010

ENP Youth Volunteer Project in Lod!

Hi, my name is Diane. I’ve been volunteering for ENP for about 2 months now, but this is my first blog post! I’m currently a junior at the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY. I’m studying abroad at the Rothberg International School at the Hebrew University for the 2009 – 2010 school year. It’s been an amazing experience so far and I’ve met so many great people. I’ve had such a good time that I extended my study abroad experience from one semester to one year! Recently, I decided to extend my stay to the summer as well in order to study written-Arabic.
So, for my first blog post, I will be writing about a recent phone interview I had about an Ethiopian-Israeli student volunteer project in Lod. I interviewed this really nice woman named Billie, who helped coordinate the volunteer project and help the staff and kids work together.
The volunteer project took place on March 24, 2010. Ethiopian-Israeli youth from ENP fixed up various Ethiopian communities within Lod. Students from grades 7-10, aged 13-16 volunteered in Lod. They helped to paint, clean, and organize areas that were in poor condition.
In one location, the Ethiopian-Israeli youth painted all kinds of private homes within an Ethiopian community in Lod. These were houses in which older people lived who could not afford to paint their own houses. According to Billie, the kids painted around 21 or 22 homes!
In another Ethiopian neighborhood located in Ramat Eshkol in Lod, the kids painted the entire inside of a building. They youth not only painted the walls, but wrote inspirational sentences on them such as: “Be real. Start a dream”.
Billie added that the kids were very interested in this volunteer project. Originally, the staff was worried about their motivation – getting up early to work and clean isn’t an easy task for any teenager. However, Billie noted, “We were really surprised. It was really touching to see all the kids committed to the mission. It was nice to see that at the end of the day they contributed something – to see after a day that the location that you see in the morning that was dirty and in a bad situation …looked different because the children worked. It made them feel really proud.”
As you can see, this volunteer project with the Ethiopian-Israeli youth at ENP was a huge success! It was one of the biggest youth volunteer projects that ENP has ever done.
That’s it for today, but I hope to blog again soon about more news at ENP!