Israeli Women Making A Difference in Puerto Rico

Israeli Women Making A Difference in Puerto Rico.
In Puerto Rico, a new Project TEN center is not only impacting the local community but the volunteers who have started arriving there.

“Through Project TEN, young people come together for a common good – for a project larger than themselves which enables them to hone their leadership skills, develop and establish a personal and collective identity, and set in place sustainable programs that address local needs.” says The Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman, Isaac Herzog.

Project TEN (which stands for Tikkun Empowerment Network) is a global volunteering program for young Jewish adults who want to change the world. Participants can choose from one, three, or five-month tracks, or even take part in a short summer program.

Recently, a group of Israeli women arrived in Puerto Rico for three-months to volunteer in a summer camp for local kids and rebuild a community center that was destroyed in 2017’s Hurricane Maria.

These women, ages 20-24, come from various areas of Israel including Gan Yavneh, Gadera, Kfar Saba, Givat Shmuel and Kibbutz Maffalsim. Joined by American high school students from New Jersey and Boston, and Cornell University college students as well as local Puerto Ricans who want to contribute to the restoration of the island, a truly global effort in Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, is in progress.

Through Project TEN, young people come together for a common good – for a project larger than themselves which enables them to hone their leadership skills, develop and establish a personal and collective identity, and set in place sustainable programs that address local needs.

A service-learning program that takes place in Israel and developing regions around the world, in which volunteers participate in an integrated curriculum focusing on Jewish values and community, and engage in a global dialogue on Jewish identity with their peers.

“I wanted to use this time in my life to do something meaningful. I am excited to spend time in Puerto Rico to not only help people but to learn a new culture,” said volunteer Noa Gilad, 21, of Kfar Saba, Israel.

“The work we will do here is important, not only for the local people we will help, but for the State of Israel. We are the first volunteers from Israel to come here and I think that it will be very significant to the people we work and live with,” said Rotem Solomon, 21, of Gadera. After finishing their volunteer experience, the group will return home to attend university.

The main project the Israelis have started work on has been rebuilding a community center in Loiza, which provides programs and services to local children to try to keep them away from gang violence.

The Puerto Rico center is a joint project with local nonprofit PR4PR. “PR4PR has done a tremendous job working with Puerto Rico’s youth to keep them off the streets and providing positive programming to help provide them with the skillsets to become contributing members of society,” said Herzog on partnering together for the island’s Project TEN center.

“It was very exciting to see these young Israelis working side-by-side with students from Cornell and local children in Loiza to help rebuild this community,” said PR4PR Founder Henry Orlinsky. “Acts of kindness like these young people from Israel and the mainland do are so meaningful. It will positively impact the lives of local families for a long time to come.”

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