Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed

by American Friends of the Spafford Children's Center
Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed
Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed
Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed
Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed
Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed
Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed
Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed
Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed
Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed
Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed
Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed
Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed
Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed
Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed
Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed
Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed
Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed
Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed
Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed
Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed
Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed
Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed
Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed
Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed
Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed
Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed
Mothers in a training session
Mothers in a training session

The Spafford Children’s Center (SCC) has been around since 1925—and the understanding of child development has changed markedly in almost 100 years. SCC has always incorporated new theories and practices by stressing advanced training for teachers, social workers, and specialists. The skills they learn are transferred to state-of-the-art services for mothers and children. Support the learning environment at SCC by donating to the American Friends of the Spafford Children’s Center (AFSCC) through GlobalGiving at https://goto.gg/31839. 

Staff from SCC’s East Jerusalem and Bethany locations participated in three days of intensive training on early childhood developmental assessments. They were taught how to evaluate the learning needs of children according to a standardized methodology. SCC also arranged nine intensive training sessions (3 hours per each session) for parents and families. SCC experts and external trainers conducted sessions on how to support children with learning difficulties. Parents learned to create their own teaching tools and activities at home using very simple materials to help their children learn and thrive. 

The sessions also discussed the psychological and emotional issues for children who are detained or arrested by the authorities. All SCC services recognize the impact of trauma on child cognitive and emotional development. There is counseling, art and dance activities, educational tutoring, and speech therapy—organized in an individual plan for each child—to reduce the effects of trauma and increase self-esteem and confidence. 

Please support these innovative services by supporting AFSCC on GlobalGiving at https://goto.gg/31839.

Every donation makes a difference; we hope you will help.

Kids being creative with simple materials
Kids being creative with simple materials
Learning about healthy food at SCC
Learning about healthy food at SCC
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Free Play area at SCC
Free Play area at SCC

Children need space—but in the Old City of Jerusalem there are few venues for free play; places where kids can be kids in safety. The Spafford Children’s Center now has a play room full of colorful toys that encourage young children to engage their imaginations, develop problem solving skills, foster their resilience, and conquer fears. Supported by UNICEF the ‘Free Play’ program lets children choose what they want to do and how they want to play—either alone or with others. Play is a fundamental part of the learning and developmental processes for children and SCC welcomes children through age 3-1/2 to run, tumble, climb, and giggle and yell with joy. The early childhood development specialist at SCC observes the play and identifies any delays or concerns that are discussed with the parent and incorporated into a comprehensive plan for the child and family. This program now has 30 children and more come every week. You can help children grow and develop through GlobalGiving at https://goto.gg/31839 .

The mothers at SCC beam as they watch their children sheltered for a few hours from the stresses of living in an area suffering from constant uncertainty.  They are trained in the importance of early childhood development and realize the significance of paying attention to the milestones of their children. The mothers engage with the teachers, specialist, and social worker to craft an intervention plan that will help their child grow and develop. The limited resources of these families do not interfere with their desire to give their children the best start they can. At the SCC they find supports that will serve their children well as they grow up in an unpredictable environment. Support these families through GlobalGiving at https://goto.gg/31839 .

Fun times at SCC
Fun times at SCC
Starting early with children at SCC
Starting early with children at SCC
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Now is the time of year when people give to causes they support.  We hope you will be generous in your gifts to the American Friends of the Spafford Children’s Center through GlobalGiving at https://goto.gg/31839.

In December, if you begin a recurring monthly gift, GlobalGiving will match it for one month.  Your end of year contribution of $50 becomes $100!  AFSCC will be grateful to receive your monthly donation through 2019.  Your donation each month will help the Spafford Children’s Center in Jerusalem provide tutoring to Palestinian children who attend schools with class sizes of 50 or more; will assist mothers who want training in ways they can reinforce the learning of their children at home, and will go toward cultural activities like art and dance that allow traumatized children to express their joys and fears.

AFSCC’s Chair, Rev. Matthew Dayton-Welch visited the Spafford Children’s Center recently. Here is his report.

Last month I spent several days at the Spafford Children’s Center in Jerusalem and Bethany to witness firsthand the impact that the SCC—and our donations—make for many underserved children. In Jerusalem, the center was bustling, with every classroom occupied. Children were receiving the personalized academics for which the SCC is so renowned. (They even let me teach an Arabic lesson.) In the auditorium, musicians from a local orchestra performed lively Palestinian folk tunes as children and mothers clapped along. In the dance room, a dozen girls were learning ballet and, in the halls, mothers were making new friends.

The center in Bethany, a close suburb of Jerusalem, serves a different set of needs. Its clientele are West Bankers and most are unable to access the resources once available to them in Jerusalem, so SCC-Bethany offers them the same tailored academic support and therapeutic resources, while also providing quality pediatric healthcare. Recent US funding cuts to UN agencies like UNRWA has resulted in unmet needs among Palestinians. The vaccine refrigerator in Bethany, for instance, is nearly empty. The work of SCC has never been more important. With your help, the SCC can see that children in Jerusalem and the West Bank are provided the opportunity to dream—like all kids should.

(No donated funds are used by board members who visit SCC).

Give as generously as you can—a one-time gift or a monthly donation—to the American Friends of the Spafford Children’s Center through GlobalGiving at https://goto.gg/31839.

AFSCC Chair, Rev. Matthew Dayton-Welch visited SCC
AFSCC Chair, Rev. Matthew Dayton-Welch visited SCC
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Drawings by SCC children
Drawings by SCC children

The Palestinian children and youth the Spafford Children’s Center serves live in a context of political unrest and violence that may trigger trauma reactions and emotional and behavioral disorders. These drawings by children who attended SCC activities shows the frightening scenes that are part of their lives. 

Donations to the American Friends of the Spafford Children’s Center (AFSCC) through GlobalGiving at https://goto.gg/31839go directly to SCC to provide needed services and supports for children and families. AFSCC is an all-volunteer organization; we pay no rent or salaries so your donation goes farther. 

To counter the traumatic effects of the living situation, the Spafford Children’s Center offers a holistic array of services including educational support, play therapy, group counseling, psychodrama, music, art, folk dancing, recreational and other cultural activities, as well as summer camp and outings to local sites.

Last year SCC started a program focusing on Early Childhood Development (ECD) for children aged 0 to 6 years as partner in a national ECD strategy through the Palestinian Authority. In this program the child’s development is assessed according to a defined protocol. Additionally, mothers/parents are taught the vital importance of early stimulation and building close parent-child relationships that will promote the socio-emotional, neuro-motor, and cognitive development of the child. Strong bonds during infancy and pre-school years are critically important to the child’s growth and development of resilience. Several SCC staff members are performing so well in this program that they have been chosen to supervise other trainees in their assessments of the development of children. 

The facts-on-the ground in Jerusalem and the West Bank where the Spafford Children’s Center works are constantly changing. The United States has withdrawn funding from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) services and schools in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza. Additionally, the Jerusalem mayor has said he will close UNRWA schools and clinics in the city. Just to serve the registered children in East Jerusalem would require at least 2,000 more classrooms and teachers; that need has existed for years. The UNRWA cuts have also affected the SCC clinic in Bethany. For years SCC received vaccines from UNRWA; now they are no longer available and the clinic is having to find other sources for these important childhood inoculations. 

Please donate to AFSCC at https://goto.gg/31839to help children and families find hope for their futures.

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Student Learning at SCC
Student Learning at SCC

Trauma and Learning Challenges Can Go Together

Now is the time to join the American Friends of the Spafford Children’s Center in supporting the work of the Spafford Children’s Center in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Vulnerable children like Nadim need your help. Please contribute to AFSCC through GlobalGiving at https://goto.gg/31839. Every dollar helps bring hope and opportunity to children like Nadim.

Nadim struggled to learn Arabic. Everything seemed beyond him — he was slow to read, he didn’t pronounce words correctly, he missed the meaning of sentences and stories. His parents were very worried not only about his lessons, but also how upset Nadim was when he came home from school. They didn’t understand why he had so few friends and came up with reasons to avoid going to school. When they brought him to the Spafford Children’s Center (SCC) they immediately felt hope. Here were caring professionals who had the knowledge and skills to help their son and to teach them how to support him.

The initial assessment conducted at SCC showed that the almost 9-year-old functioned at a 2nd grade level. He had difficulty discerning Arabic letters, was slow in reading and understanding phrases, and felt very stressed when he read aloud. Nadim was trying so hard but it was all frustrating and made him feel bad about himself. He also told the SCC counselor that he was often afraid on the way to and from school as the heavily armed soldiers sometimes searched him and his classmates. He didn’t want to burden his parents with his fears as he often heard them talking about how difficult it was to find jobs and pay the rent. Further, the assessment revealed that Nadim had difficulties writing; he held the pencil so tightly that his hands hurt and he could only write a line or two before he gave up.

The SCC team recommended registering Nadim in Arabic courses for his language development as well as counseling and occupational therapy to relieve his tension and stress and improve his fine motor skills. Drama and art activities were added to let Nadim express his joys and concerns and increase his muscle control and reduce his stress.

Nadim came to SCC for over a year. Progress was slow at first but as the counselor and therapist dealt with the trauma issues his ability to learn increased. His mother also received counseling and was helped to talk directly with her children about the challenges the family faces. Additionally, she worked with the SCC teachers to make educational toys and learned how to work with Nadim and her other children at home to advance their cognitive and emotional development.

Now Nadim is starting the 5th grade and he is on track with the other students. He has made friends, some at SCC and some in school. After the intensive SCC courses in Arabic he is now able to read and answer questions; he actually likes reading aloud and volunteers in class. His motor coordination has improved and he enjoys games and sports. He is proud that his artwork is hung with pride in his home and at SCC. His mother has done her best to help him and is very happy with his continuous progress, especially considering that he is the eldest son.

The Spafford Children’s Center strives to offer children and their families a safe place to reach their full potential through development of their individual strengths and gifts in the context of an unpredictable political environment. SCC is committed to bringing healing and hope to children and families by offering programs and services that increase health in mind, body, and spirit. 

Please remember Nadim by contributing to AFSCC through GlobalGiving at https://goto.gg/31839

Thank you.

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Organization Information

American Friends of the Spafford Children's Center

Location: New Orleans, LA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Wendy Blome
New Orleans, LA United States
$99,964 raised of $200,000 goal
 
848 donations
$100,036 to go
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