I recently spent an afternoon at Hadassim Children and Youth Village. Dr. Carmela Dekel, Chairperson of the Education Division at World WIZO, and I visited the youth village in order to meet some very special students that attend Hadassim and live in the dormitories.
During our visit we first met Michael Magrilov. Michael has lived at Hadassim since he was 10-years-old. To him, Hadassim is his home and his family. Michael has spent his 8 years at Hadassim volunteering his time to help other children similar to him. He tutors, coaches soccer, and has been an excellent role model for other children who live at Hadassim. Michael says, “I have become the person I am today because of Hadassim, living here changed my life.” Michael graduated this year and received multiple awards! Next, he will be entering the IDF in an elite unit.
We also met Yaniv, a good friend of Michael’s who was once his roommate! Yaniv has been at Hadassim since he was twelve. Like Michael, Hadassim is Yaniv’s home. We were lucky to have met many other students who touched us by the stories they shared.
What was amazing about meeting the students was that each expressed their love of Hadassim and the life-changing impact living on the youth village has had. Meeting these students and seeing the strong individuals they have grown into with the help of Hadassim was a fantastic and heartwarming experience. It is very special to see the results of CHW’s ongoing support.
Michael Magrilov on the left with his friend Yaniv at right
One of the students from the Hadassim Children and Youth Village
More students from Hadassim
This past week I attended the graduation ceremony at Hadassim Children and Youth Village.
The ceremony was filled with warmth and joy as the students excitingly received their diplomas. Ze’ev Twito, the director of the youth village, opened the evening with a few words, saying that, “Hadassim is forever the student’s home,” and that he misses them already. It was so touching to see firsthand the genuine care that Ze’ev has for each student.
It was a remarkable event. Even the Mayors of both Even Yehuda and Kadima Zoran, the local municipalities, came to the graduation and commended the students on their excellent work.
One of my favourite parts of the ceremony was when the parents came on stage as a surprise and sung a song they had written to their children. It was such a beautiful part of the ceremony and all the students rushed the stage at the end!
The ceremony also recognized those students who had worked hard to achieve the highest grades in the class and give back to the community. One dormitory student, Michael Magrilov, was even awarded the Israel Youth Award for his outstanding work academically, socially, and through volunteering.
I felt honoured when Dr. Carmela Dekel spoke at the graduation and specifically thanked CHW for their hard work and dedication to Hadassim.
The evening was so special and moving. I am so thankful to have been a part of it. The students displayed so much pride and maturity when receiving their diplomas. It was evident that there was a lot of love in the ceremony.
On behalf of CHW we would like to wish the Hadassim graduates and all of the graduates from CHW projects success and luck in their futures!
Michael Magrilov holding the Israel Youth Award he received
The parents on stage singing to the students
What a fun day at Hadassim! The graduating students unveiled their final project, and what a hit it was!
As Hadassim’s graduating students prepare for the end of the year, they’ve had one final assignment to complete. Annually, the graduating students at Hadassim host an event and activity for the younger grades to participate in. This year, the graduating students decided to take on a new project. They built a life-size chess board for future students to use.
The inspiration for this project came from a new chess program that was introduced this year at Hadassim. In fact, Tova Ben-Dov, President of World WIZO, was the founder of this program at Hadassim as well as three other youth villages throughout Israel.
The graduating students spent months building the life-size board and chess pieces or chessmen, as they are commonly referred to, and the game was revealed today. Hours were spent with students and teachers playing and laughing!
When asked about their decision to make this, the graduating students said that it was important to them to make something fun and educational. Most importantly, they expressed that they wanted something that could be passed down to future students.
Hadassim students building the chess board
The complete chess board at its unveiling
Students painting the chess board
Graduating students putting the finishing touches on their life size chess board
There have been holidays and ceremonies taking place throughout the country. Recently, in light of Independence Day, soldiers were honoured with a special ceremony to show the country’s appreciation for their dedication and work. Soldiers from around the country joined in the ceremony; in fact, some soldiers were specially honoured for outstanding work.
During one of these ceremonies I was proud to learn that two of the soldiers being honoured were former students from Hadassim Children and Youth Village! In fact, these two students grew up in the dormitories at Hadassim and today, when they are off duty from the army, they return to Hadassim where they live and volunteer with fellow dormitory students!
I was proud to see Vladi, an officer, walk on stage to be honoured. Then shortly after, Dan, who is in a very elite unit, receive his distinction. It was evident that the two boys were proud of their hard work.
Dan expressed that Hadassim is his home and it is what made him the person he is today!
Seeing our Hadassim students grow into mature and accomplished young citizens is a wonderful feeling and it is with thanks to the work of CHW.
A photo of one of the soldiers who grew up at Hadassim
A photo of Israeli soldiers from Hadassim
One of my favourite things about working with CHW is getting to visit our projects. I love meeting the children that attend our daycare centres, schools, and youth villages. I recently visited Hadassim Children and Youth Village, where I met two outstanding and special students. I would like to share these students’ stories with you.
Keren was brought to Hadassim by the Department of Social Services; she is currently living in the dormitory for at-risk girls. Keren has been at Hadassim for three years. She says since arriving at Hadassim, she is a new person! Keren loves music and is taking voice lessons. She is in the choir and performs whenever she has the opportunity (which is for anyone who will listen!) Today Keren is a motivated and diligent young woman.
I move on to tell you about Tamara, a grade nine student who lives in the Hadassim Family Units. Tamara is originally from Sderot. Her parents sent her to Hadassim due to the ongoing rocket attacks that were putting her life in danger. Her parents felt this was the healthiest choice for their daughter. Tamara is thriving at Hadassim. She no longer is fearful of waking up in the middle of the night to sirens, or of what will happen if a rocket hits her home. Hadassim provided her with a safe and warm environment.
I share these two children’s stories with you because they, like each personal story that I am told, are special. They show me the wonderful impact that our CHW projects have on individuals.
Stay in touch for more personal stories!
This is a photo of a student who lives in the dormitories for girls at-risk
This is a photo of students who live in the dormitories
Passover is a special holiday to be with family and friends. As I am originally from Canada, I decided to spend the holiday in Toronto with my family. However, I would like to share with you the unique ways that Passover is being celebrated throughout the CHW projects.
At Hadassim Children and Youth Village, the students from the dormitories and family units are busy preparing for a large Seder together. Each child has been given a different responsibility, whether it is helping to cook or set the table.
At CHW’s Daycare Centres, the children are being taught about Passover, both the meaning of the holiday and the traditions.
While every project is celebrating the holiday in their own special way, the one thing we all have in common is that everyone will be together with those who they love and care about.
This is a photo of a family together at last year’s Hadassim Passover celebration
Here we see a child learning about Passover at the Rose Dunkelman Daycare Centre