Kate Belza

Currently an Entwine Global Jewish Service Corp in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Baby Help: It's for the kids

Posted: July 15, 2014

My experience volunteering at JDC's Baby Help in Summer 2012 was magical. I worked with the caring teachers and became a tia (aunt) for the kids, showering them with love and making sure they knew they were special independent of their backgrounds and family situations. 

 Since 2003 Baby Helpa center helping at-risk Jewish children in Buenos Aires followed by the country's economic collapse in 2001, has helped hundreds of families and babies aged 1-3 have a safe place to go while their parents work and most importantly a community on which to lean and gain support. In 2014 as part of JDC's efforts to transition critical social welfare services to local community institutions, JDC partnered with the Tel Aviv School, an elementary school based in Buenos Aires, to transfer Baby Help's daycare services into the existing structure of a local academic institution. While this is amazing for the long-term sustainability of the project, the families have entered into unfamiliar terrain and still need the support they were receiving at Baby Help. Money is being raised to make sure tuition will not hinder these kids from going to the school and to ensure these kids have the same food and materials as the kids around them. 

I have had the opportunity to return many times this past year toBaby Help and to the new center at the Tel Aviv school. AllI want is to ensure that the children continue receiving the same services they had at Baby Help and that money will not be a hindrance to letting them attend the school, eat, or interact with their peers.

When thinking about wrapping up my year, I wanted to do more than just what I can do with my own hands but also invite my family, friends, and community to support a project that is extremely important to me and to the continued success of Argentina's Jewish community. So far I have joined with a few other past Baby Help volunteers to support this incredible program. Our kickoff project was a merienda where we gathered our friends and ended up raising about $300! 

I am reaching out to all of you with the opportunity to join me in supporting this wonderful project. Thank you in advance for all your generosity, your gift means so much to the families of Baby Help and to me. 

If you are ready to make your donation, please click here.
Thank you again, please let me know if you have any questions or want more information! 

 

 

The Rhythm of Hebraica

Posted: October 15, 2013

Kate Belza is serving as an Entwine JDC-BBYO Global JSC Fellow in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Read more from Kate on her blog, Un Año en Buenos Aires.

After being here over a month, I've settled into a rhythm. Three mornings a week I go to the JDC office, four afternoons I go to Hebraica (one of the largest JCC's in Buenos Aires), and Saturdays I travel outside the city to Hebraica's country property. Hebraica has over 7,000 members, 500 staff, a thirteen-story building and a country club outside the city. At any moment activities abound including lighting Shabbat candles, elderly ladies learning how to use a computer, Rikkudim classes, basketball games, youth directors and madrichim planning upcoming activities, aerobics, informal Jewish education activities, and then some.

I work in the youth department, with 1,300+ kids 2-17 years old, and 100+ madrichim (counselors) who lead the programs (18-21 years old). Madrichim plan programs for the kids aged 3-14 and then teens aged 15-17 go to a madrichim school! When you graduate from the madrichim school, you become a madricha. There are directors for each of the age groups and then a director for the entire youth department, Jessi.

I work most closely with three groups: the madrichim school, a program called Mitnadev, an ongoing volunteer project, and on Hebraica's relationship with BBYO, the world´s leading pluralistic Jewish teen movement.  I plan programs and help teens in the madrichim school connect with Jewish teens around the world. In February I will accompany teens from Hebraica to BBYO´s International Convention in Dallas.

My typical day at Hebraica:

Monday: Teens interested in learning more about BBYO and connecting with teens from around the world meet for fun activities such as Google Hangouts with teens in America.

Tuesday: I attend meetings with the "anala" which includes all of the directors of the different programs in the youth department. 

Wednesday: The madrichim school meets for about two hours at night, so I go to help where I can and participate in the activities.

Friday: I help out with Mitnadev´s ongoing volunteer project, where they plan activities for a group of children who do not have the opportunity to have afterschool activities. For example, they had a scavenger hunt which included getting my signature.

Saturday: I drive an hour outside the city to Pilar, Hebraica´s camp-like country club to see all the youth programs in action.


Each Saturday at Pilar, hundreds if not thousands of people take part in activities and enjoying time with friends and family. Many of the young adults I have met at Hebraica told me although they had friends at school and in other activities, all their best friends today are still from Hebraica.

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You too can serve & adventure abroad: Applications for 2014-15 JDC Entwine Global Jewish Service Corps are now open! http://jdcentwine.org/jsc

 

 

 

 

Jul 15, 2014 11:01:33 AM
Oct 15, 2013 10:43:26 PM
Kate Belza uploaded new photos into Hebraica
Oct 15, 2013 4:45:19 PM

About

Kate Belza
Joined: July 8, 2012

 

 

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