We all recognize that parents hold the key to creating a supportive environment for their children. Three years of experience in the Youth Futures program have shown that it is not enough to merely work with children in order to generate change in their lives; it is also necessary to work with parents in order to provide their children with the atmosphere and responses needed for their proper growth and development.
The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit stepped forward and provided the help we needed to initiate the Family Futures program.
The Family Futures program was designed to answer this need and create a foundation of meaningful support for parents and their children, foster an improved connection between parents and the organizations that treat their children, create a network of mutual support among participants in the program, help parents fulfill themselves as human beings and thereby become better parents and grow local forces of parents and professionals in struggling northern and southern Israeli communities.
We've seen a good example of what we can do, through just getting the parents involved in their children's lives, in what Sigal from the south did to help her son make friends in school. She participated in a Family Futures activity with her son's class and taught them to make pancakes. This gave her son new topics for conversation and a chance to talk with his classmates, and opened the door to new relationships between the children.
I personally feel that this is a real opportunity to make a significant impact on the Youth Futures communities, and a long term impact on Israeli society as a whole. I am truly excited to be a part of a program that will, I believe, be remembered as a turning point in these people's lives, as well as in our own.
The Detroit Federation has been an amazing hands-on partner in this program, and I would like to thank them and you all for letting me be a part of the Youth Futures vision.
Dana Zacks has a second degree in social work and is a graduate of Mandel's School of Leadership. Dana is the director of "Family Futures".