September 7, 2006
A project works at 'Making the Grade'
by Jessica Endy
|Children in northern Israel display |
their Office Depot debit cards.
It's back-to-school time. For most students in the Philadelphia area, getting new school supplies is an end-of-summer ritual. But for the youth of northern Israel -- whose lives have been turned upside-down by the financial, infrastructure and emotional devastation caused by the recent war -- buying necessities has become difficult, if not impossible.
To address this issue, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia has adopted a project called "Making the Grade." As part of the $15 million that Federation aims to raise through its Israel Emergency Fund, Federation seeks to raise $500,000 for this specific cause. This funding will guarantee that 10,000 at-risk Israeli children receive backpacks and the supplies they need for this academic year.
To ensure that the project goes smoothly, Federation is partnering with the Jewish Agency for Israel, which will administer the program, oversee the distribution of supplies and provide Federation with frequent status reports. "Making the Grade" will primarily support students who are new immigrants to Israel, who are living in absorption centers or are classified as "at-risk" by social-welfare authorities. Many of the students' families have been left without any income because of the war, and therefore must focus on rebuilding their lives. School supplies can be an impossible expense after such trauma.