Reflections on the deep emotional needs of our youth as they return to Village life.
Batya Shmueli is a beloved staff member who serves as Resource Development and Community Relations Manager at Yemin Orde Youth Village.
I hope you and your families are well and safe. As for my work, I can report that all our students have returned to the Village, many after a full two months in the problematic households and neighborhoods from which they sought Yemin Orde's refuge.
I was reminded about Yemin Orde’s importance when I asked two girls who had just arrived, “How was it to be away?” Literally, they shrieked about the “nightmare” it was to be at home. It’s so clear how much Yemin Orde is their home and secure place. Here, they find the chance to be kids, to breathe, to improve their studies, to develop themselves.
Looking to the months ahead and into the new school year, for the burdens and learning losses from their COVID-19 experience, our students will need added remedial attention – especially 9th and 10th graders – to speed their reintegration into Village life.
A brief highlight as to how we’ve responded to the coronavirus challenges.
- With your generous partnership we supported families in dire need of assistance. During Passover, 220 families received support of food vouchers, and 125 of those families in the most difficult situations received a second gift of food vouchers.
- Staff has called Yemin Orde's graduates to check on them. Until now we’ve focused on graduates from the past ten years. We’ve reached over 1,000 graduates, and distributed financial crisis stipends to 100 of them. Financial counseling accompanies our support. We’ve expanded our outreach to graduates up to 40 years old, finding more in serious financial need. Permit me one story (of many): When we tell our students from their very first day, “We’re with You ALL the Way!”, this is what we mean:
"Since my parents passed, I have been caring for and supporting my younger siblings. With the crisis, I lost my job and my ability to support them. The stipend helped me pay for food and our bills. And through the support provided by the Yemin Orde staff, I was able to find a new job."
We’re so grateful to everyone. We are praying and wishing for good days to come. You and the American people are full of grace and giving, always caring for the world, and reaching for justice. May God give you lots of health.
L’hitraot. (See you again.) Soon, I hope!
Visit our coronavirus articles page for articles about how COVID-19 impacted our Village Way family.