Federation teams evaluate Israel Project

Teams from St. Louis and Atlanta traveled to St. Louis’ sister-city in Israel to assess a new project to help families in distress with at-risk children.

Patty Croughan, chair of Jewish Federation’s Israel and Overseas Allocations Subcommittee; Stuart and Susie Zimmerman, and Stephen Cohen, Ph. D., Federation assistant executive vice president, attended recent meetings in Yokne’am-Megiddo, St. Louis and Atlanta’s sister-city region in Israel.

They joined representatives from Atlanta and St. Louis’ Partnership 2000 communities to assess progress on Federation’s new multi-year project designed to serve families in distress with at-risk children and youth. The program is drawing on services provided by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and the Ethiopian National Project. Jewish Federation of St. Louis is supporting the effort with $350,000 annually.

“This new initiative follows extensive planning and pinpointing those families most in need of services,” said Dr. Cohen. “The municipalities of Yokne’am-Megiddo are taking a new, coordinated approach to the provision of services. An integrated set of programs has been put in place with promising initial results.”

An ongoing evaluation is built into the project to measure overall success and the direct impact on those receiving services, Dr. Cohen added.

Because of the success of the project to date, additional funding is coming from the Keren Rashi Foundation, a French-based Israel-focused philanthropic foundation.

While there, the St. Louis contingent visited Bayit Cham, a JAFI after school program for vulnerable youth, and saw the Space of the Youth Futures Program of JAFI in the old Yokne’am-Megiddo Youth Club where the group painted a mural with the children.

Orit Lin, sister of Galia Movitz, heads the program.