CLEVELAND JEWISH NEWS - April 26, 2012. Members of Jewish Family Service Association’s Horvitz YouthAbility program focused on helping others during their trip to Israel, March 25 to April 2. YouthAbility members picked potatoes as part of the Project Leket, through which volunteers harvest produce for the hungry and distribute it to families, organizations and soup kitchens.
YouthAbility travelers to Israel focus on helping others
YouthAbility travelers, from left, Trudy Stearns, Andrew Sokolov, Kaleb Lloyd and Talia Sukol chop vegetables at a soup kitchen.
Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2012 2:56 pm
Sue Hoffman - Staff Reporter
Members of Jewish FamilyService Association’s Horvitz YouthAbility program focused on helpingothers during their trip to Israel, March 25 to April 2.
"We all smile in the same language, and the 29 travelers were happy to use this form of communication throughout their volunteer mission,” said program coordinator Heidi Solomon.
YouthAbility serves disabled and at-risk youth by engaging them in volunteerism.
"Our trip was highlighted by two performances of our original play ‘We Will Be Friends,’” Solomon said.
"First, we were at the Bialik-region school in Tel Aviv, a facility serving immigrant refugee children from 48 countries.Our show was part of a special school ceremony on the theme of ‘giving.’The second performance was for students of the Golani School, a school for children with special needs in Cleveland’s sister city of Beit She’an.
"The most exciting aspect of each performance was the connection that seemed to be made between the actors on the stage and the children in the audience,” Solomon said. “The faces were so bright,it was as if a smile factory had been created.”
Other volunteer projects during the trip focused onlearning about and helping the needy of Israel, Solomon said. YouthAbility members picked potatoes as part of the Leket project,through which volunteers harvest produce for the hungry and distribute it to families, organizations and soup kitchens.
"Two days later we went to a Hazon Yeshaya soup kitchen to help prepare food for the needy,” Solomon said. “Our final volunteer project was planting oak trees in a forest outside of Jerusalem. We felt honored to be part of the ‘greening’ of Israel.
"We rounded out our trip with visits to outstanding tourist destinations such as the Nachalat Binyamin art market, Tower of David light show, the new art wing of The Israel Museum, the Dead Sea and much more,” Solomon said. “Although we traveled to Israel to ‘giveback,’ we all felt the enrichment we received was most valuable.”
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