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מרכז לקהילה האפריקאית בירושלים

Welcome, New Staff Members!

We are so grateful to have five new staff members, who are all so dedicated to serving members of the JACC community and making sure that we truly are a home away from home.

Here’s your chance to get to know them:

Gitit Spegiel:

My name is Gitit. 'm almost 25 years old, I now live in Jerusalem. On October Ist, I’ll begin my third year at The Hebrew University, studying community social work and political science.

Several years ago, I became aware of the issue of asylum seekers living in Israel. Since learning about their difficulties and the barriers they face, I’ve been unable to accept their situation. So, I decided that I wanted to be active in creating change so everyone in Israel will have an opportunity to lead a good, respectable life.

When I moved to Jerusalem, I came across JACC accidentally. It’s became clear to me that I wanted to play an active role at the center and take part in its activities.

I coordinate the learning center. We opened the center in February, and the reopening will take place in October. The learning center runs through the school year and serves children in third to sixth grade.

At the learning center, students receive a warm meal, private tutoring and homework help, all through the support of volunteers. The learning center enables children to be in the type of afterschool that children of our community don’t normally have access to.

In addition, the center enables children to experience success and embrace their ability as students. The aid they receive gives them a chance to show their teachers that they are bright, intelligent children who are capable of success in whatever they do. It always brings me joy when a child who’s studied at the center tells me that they received 100% on an exam.

I’m also hoping to provide the kids with supplementary learning materials, so that they'll be able dive deeper into their studies. In addition, I'd be happy to combine activities like afternoon classes as a component of the center and of course to continue and follow the continual progress of the kids.

Tamar Zilberbush:

​​I’m a social worker and the coordinator of the psychosocial services at JACC.

The issue of the asylum seekers has interested me since I was working towards my BA at Ben Gurion University, and the army started to round them up at the border. The students used to provide the asylum seekers first-aid and help them reach a place where they would be "accepted.” Eventually, a community center opened at the university, and I volunteered with ASAF until I moved to Jerusalem.

When the social worker position became available at JACC, I was happy to return to the field, this time as a professional.

The psychosocial department deals with aiding individuals and families and develops communal responses to the need of the community. We hope to aid as many community members as possible, especially the ones in crisis and distress, and provide education on a personal and communal level on parenthood, employment, women's' health etc.

Tom Kirma:

Hi, I'm Tom. I’m 26 years old and I live in the center of Jerusalem. I’m a student of natural medicine.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with the community at JACC and value the importance of the foundation and the lives and rights of the community we serve.

We're working now on recruiting volunteers for next year, and our goal is to significantly raise the number of volunteers at JACC.

Nitzan Amitay:

Hi, I'm Nitzan. I'm 25 years old and living in Jerusalem. I'm studying political science, philosophy and economics and psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. I have been working with NGOs and children ever since I was a teenager. I worked in a house for abused women and also at Amnesty International. I have always been a passionate advocate of the rights of women and children.

I love playing the piano, reading, traveling, hiking and being part of the Israeli Burning Man community.

JACC is an amazing NGO. In this field, it's very hard to stay motivated and continue pushing for change. Making a difference takes time and the political situation can be very discouraging. In the sea of NGOs that exist, JACC is truly an island of “actual doing.” Because we try to help a very specific community, everything becomes much more personal and effective. I know the children that I promote, I care for them personally, and that makes all the difference.

We are currently preparing the children for the beginning of the new school year. Over the next few weeks we have first grade preparation classes, preschool preparation activities and a "Back to School" community picnic.

My goals are to help as many children as possible with their school and social activities. I would like to create an easy system that allows every age group to have a full support plan that takes into consideration all the different aspects of being a child.

In the next few months, we are launching our 2018 mentorship program and also opening a new youth center.

I hope they will be successful.

Ira Elan:

Hi, my name is Ira Elan. Born in Latvia, I made Aliyah after graduating from high school and I’ve lived in Jerusalem, a city I adore, for seventeen year. I’m the mother of three wonderful kids and a wife to my beloved spouse Amiel. I have a BA in Arts History & Business Management, and a masters in NGO Management, both from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

I came to JACC pretty much by chance, and fell in love. During the interview, it was difficult for me to put into words why I felt I had to work here and why the things that we do are so important. I was just the right thing to do. So I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time.

My work as a whole is finding, contacting and managing relationships with new organizations and private sponsors who might like to sponsor JACC.

I would like JACC to prosper and grow and for all of our volunteers to think about the work and not about money or its absence.

I'll do my best to achieve this goal.

A huge welcome to all of you! We wish you the best for the coming year.

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