The Big Brother, Big Sister Program
Hebrew: אח בוגר אחות בוגרת ישראל
Big Brothers, Big Sisters is a voluntary organization, established in Haifa in 1973, and is based on a model of an international organization originating in the U.S. in 1904, and now acting in many countries around the world.
The purpose of the organization is to assist and contribute to the education and proper development of children growing up in single-parent families, by providing an “older sister or brother” that serves as a model for identification. These older sisters and brothers are volunteers recruited by the organization.
Big Brothers Big sisters takes care of children between the ages of 6 – 16, native Israelis and new immigrants, living in Haifa and the north of the country. Many of these children are taken care of until the age of 21 and after military service. Some of our children are new immigrants, and some from families in distress and at risk
The absence of a parent affects a child’s development and therefore, the involvement of an adult in a constant one-to–one relationship is very important. The volunteer becomes a friend, a guide and a supportive figure in the child’s life, and makes a meaningful contribution to the development of the child’s personality to reaching its fullest potential. Through these positive and mature friendships the “young brothers and sisters” improve their self-confidence, inner discipline and independence.
In addition to the one-to-one weekly meetings of the “brothers and sisters”’ the volunteers also participate in group activities with the children like celebrating holidays together, participating in trips and fun days, celebrating Bar-Mitzvas and Bat-Mitzvas together etc.
The process of matching volunteers and children is accompanied by a professional team of social workers, who are in charge of selection, supervision, follow-up and group activities.
In the northern region of Israel there are more then 6000 single-parent families. Many of them are live in weak neighborhoods, in which most of the citizens are new immigrants from Russia and Ethiopia. In these areas our service is needed even more.
We run a special project for the Ethiopian population:
A Friend to a Family – Yedid Mishpacha
This project was established in 2005. Big Brother Big Sister has been responsible for the project since the beginning of 2007. The purpose of this project is to help Ethiopian families through the complicated process of adjusting and integrating into the Israeli society, and to ease their way in such a totally different culture
It is very difficult to understand fully the issues and their impact on the Ethiopian community in their absorption from the Ethiopia to Israel. Most of them come from the villages of this under developed country. Coming to Israel – a western and modern country – means that hundreds of years of the psychological, technological and cultural gaps have to be dealt with in one generation.
Within the framework of this project we recruit volunteers to be a “friend” to a family. The friend helps in many ways and acts a bridge between two different cultures. The friend is a strong anchor to the family.
In addition to the one-to-one relationship of the “friend” and the family, there are group activities with the families and the volunteers.
The organization is supported by the public and institutional donations, as well as by private donations from Israel and abroad
For more information call: 04-838 9824
You cannot change the whole world, but you can change the world of a single child.