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

As the New Year begins, join us for a review of the amazing services at the Spafford Children's Center (SCC) that you help to support. January 2023 means a new semester of classes and activities at the Spafford Children's Center in East Jerusalem. The halls are filled with laughter and hugs as teachers and students see each other again after a break. Palestinian children know the SCC is a safe place, at a time when much in their communities is uneasy and insecure. Like all children they learn best in a calm, supportive atmosphere; an environment like the SCC.

Math, English, and Arabic Classes

At the SCC the strengths and needs of each child is assessed and then matched with other children who have similar needs so that they can learn with and from each other. SCC puts two or three kids in a class with one teacher and then the magic begins. In a 13-week semester of one or two sessions a week, the children gain between one and two years of educational content. Soon they are not only doing arithmetic and higher math, but also conjugating verbs in both English and Arabic. Most important they feel good about themselves and their skills and capacities.

Art and Dance Lessons

When the academic sessions are over there are art classes where children express their creativity. Or maybe they skip down the hall to the dance studio where ballet or debkah lessons are underway. Trying new things that require concentration and practice helps to teach valuable skills….and they are fun.

Trauma Treatment Program

Many Palestinian children live with stress. Walking to school means seeing, and sometimes being searched by heavily armed police or soldiers. Even coming to the SCC requires children and their mothers to pass through the gates of the Old City where Palestinian women wearing a hijab are sometimes hassled and searched. These families live with constant environmental stresses and also deal with issues like limited income, illness, and inter-generational squabbles. Whatever is affecting children, they can talk it out with a trained trauma therapist. They sense the acceptance and safety as the therapist uses games, art, individual counseling, and exercise to help the children express their feelings.

Occupational and Speech Therapy

Poor impulse control, hyperactivity, or lack of concentration on school work can be indications that occupational therapy may be needed. Speech therapy helps children who may have swallowing difficulties, articulation issues, or communication challenges. At the SCC there are trained therapists and equipment to help children make progress. Soon children are communicating with their peers and families. As one mother said, “She wouldn’t say a word; now she won’t stop talking. We love it.”

Women’s Empowerment and Father’s Engagement Programs

Mothers need the support of other women, inspiration, and knowledge to encourage their children and families to grow and thrive in difficult circumstances. SCC provides workshops, discussion sessions, and activities to help women. Through computer classes, sessions on childhood stages, and activities encouraging women to express their feelings, the SCC recognizes the importance of mothers in the development of children. Fathers come to SCC to do activities with their children like building towers with plastic cups and drawing pictures of their families or watching their children perform a play or music.

Psychological Testing

Children who need individualized testing by a PhD psychologist find that service available at a reasonable rate at the SCC. The test results help the SCC social worker and teachers find the best mix of academic, therapeutic, and recreational activities for each child.

Cultural Activities

Palestinian culture is rich and vibrant and at SCC it finds expression in debkah dancing, storytelling, literature, art, and music. Whatever the medium, the strength of Palestinian culture is celebrated at SCC.

We hope you will continue to support the services and activities of the Spafford Children's Center in 2023. If you ever have any questions, write to us at SpaffordUSA@gmail.com. Thank you for your generosity.

Matt and Wendy

 

The Rev. Canon Matthew Dayton-Welch, Chair
and
Wendy Whiting Blome, PhD, Secretary/Treasurer
American Friends of the Spafford Children's Center
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Distributing food near Spafford Baby Home/Hospital
Distributing food near Spafford Baby Home/Hospital

We serve on the Boards of the Spafford Children’s Center (SCC) and the American Friends of the Spafford Children's Center (AFSCC), and we have seen the value of SCC’s work firsthand. Simply put, the Center is changing lives in Jerusalem, ensuring that, each year, hundreds of the city’s most vulnerable children are given every opportunity to succeed through specialized trauma therapy and individual educational tutoring. SCC does this on a lean budget and with tremendous joy.

Wendy is a great granddaughter of Horatio and Anna Spafford and John and Mary Whiting, Christian pilgrims who arrived in Jerusalem in 1881. They and their children provided services in SCC’s historic building that sits alongside the Jerusalem Old City walls. As Matt, an Episcopal priest, knows well, the SCC is not far from the main street that passes from north to south; where Jesus would have played as a child and where, as an adult, he would carry a cross.

Today’s children of Jerusalem’s Old City and surrounding neighborhoods carry both that same joy and the crushing weight of poverty, societal violence, and cramped living conditions. In many cases, children experience all three of these circumstances. And yet, once they pass through the gates of the Spafford Children's Center, there is only laughter and hope for better days.

You have the opportunity, through your donations, to contribute to that good work, ensuring that the children of Jerusalem have access to the world outside those old stone walls. Please remember the American Friends of the Spafford Children's Center as part of your year-end giving: https://goto.gg/31839.  AFSCC is an all-volunteer organization so your donations go to support the educational, therapeutic, and recreational services for Palestinian children, youth, and families.

We’d like to share with you pictures from the SCC’s history. Formed as an organization in 1925, the Spafford Children's Center is almost 100 years old and has survived and thrived through regional and world wars, natural disasters, and geo-political changes to provide a haven of hope and healing for the children of Jerusalem.

With holiday greetings to all,

Matt and Wendy

The Rev. Canon Matthew Dayton-Welch, Chair
and
Wendy Whiting Blome, PhD, Secretary/Treasurer
American Friends of the Spafford Children's Center
Nurses show mothers how to prepare baby formula
Nurses show mothers how to prepare baby formula
Nurses and babies at Spafford Baby Home/Hospital
Nurses and babies at Spafford Baby Home/Hospital
Old City of Jerusalem--late 1800's
Old City of Jerusalem--late 1800's
Waiting for the Spafford Children's Center to open
Waiting for the Spafford Children's Center to open
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Children Expressing their Feelings with Puppets
Children Expressing their Feelings with Puppets

The Trauma Recovery and Empowerment Project at the Spafford Children’s Center in East Jerusalem is doing incredible work. Consider Jawaria a 10-year-old girl who lives with her mother, father, and a sibling with Downs Syndrome. Both parents work to support the family. There are also siblings from the father’s first marriage, and Jawaria often feels alone and over-looked. Her school is crowded and she has had scary experiences going to and from school when heavily armed soldiers search her backpack and want to look under her coat. She is quiet at home, stays away from other kids at school, and quietly cries when she thinks no one can hear her. Her mother became concerned when Jawaria’s grades dropped and she refused to talk about school or her studies. Her father became angry about the report card, and Jawaria ran out of the house scared.

Following a comprehensive child and family assessment that involved SCC’s PhD psychologist, the trauma specialist, and a social worker, Jawaria began twice-a-week sessions. The trauma specialist, Yazan, is a man of incredible gifts. Not only does he have training in trauma treatment, he also has an ability to connect with children who have been traumatized and help them feel safe. Through puppet shows, breathing exercises, visual sensory exercises, psychodrama groups, and drawing sessions, Yazan helped Jawaria express her feelings and communicate with her peers. In the early sessions her drawings expressed sadness and loneliness and by the end of her time in the program her paintings were filled with bright colors and expressed hope and optimism. Gradually, Jawaria became more confident and was able to speak in front of a group without overpowering anxiety.

The relationship with her parents improved as they came to better understand Jawaria’s needs. The social worker met with Jawaria’s mother individually and in a group with other mothers, and her father came to several sessions to learn more about how to support his daughter.

Jawaria is now enrolled in math and Arabic tutoring at SCC to help pick up her grades, and she has discovered a love of art and music. She is continuing art instruction with Yazan when she comes to SCC.

The Spafford Children’s Center is unique; it takes a comprehensive approach to children, families, and their needs. You can help support the life-changing work of this project funded by the American Friends of the Spafford Children’s Center. Your donations are critically important to keep this work growing.

Psychodrama at SCC
Psychodrama at SCC
Expressing Artistic Talent at SCC
Expressing Artistic Talent at SCC
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A fresh fruit snack
A fresh fruit snack

Summer camp at the Spafford Children’s Center (SCC) will end this week. What an amazing time the children have had as they learned new skills, made new friends, and had loads of fun!

The SCC offers a respite from the tensions that pervade the world of Palestinian children. Walking to school can be a frightening experience, seeing arrests and home demolitions can cause children to feel fearful, uncertain, and vulnerable. The programs at SCC recognize that trauma may affect the ability of children to learn, make friends, be social, concentrate on academic or life problems, and experience the joys of childhood.

For decades the SCC has taken a wholistic approach to children by recognizing their psychological, social, and academic needs. In summer camp children play in teams—strategizing how to get the ball through a web of cone obstacles in the SCC courtyard. They also work in teams to run a soggy sponge of water from one bucket to another 15 feet away.

In their yellow and orange Spafford Children’s Center t-shirts campers followed their leaders in blue shirts through the winding streets of Jerusalem to sites they may never have seen. For example, there was a field trip to a museum in the Old City that features archeological displays of frescos, ceramics, Byzantine mosaics, and coins. Back at the Center it was time for a healthy snack prepared by the “Little Chefs” themselves. Look at the beautiful fruit cut into bite-size pieces and skewered on a stick for easy eating.

Games at the SCC are often simple and low cost, but very clever. Here children follow the handprints and footprints to get to the end of the course. It helps children learn dexterity and stretch their muscles—their giggling muscles, that is.

Your support for the American Friends of the Spafford Children’s Center is critical to provide educational, therapeutic, and recreational services all year and special events, like camp, during the summer. Please give as generously as you can through GlobalGiving at https://goto.gg/31839.

A cool game for a hot day
A cool game for a hot day
Follow the foot and handprints
Follow the foot and handprints
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Making progress with one on one attention
Making progress with one on one attention

When help starts early the progress can be amazing. Parents bring their children to the Spafford Children’s Center (SCC) where they know complex issues can be addressed. Think about Fatima a three-and-a-half-year-old girl living with her family in Jerusalem. Her parents were frantic; why did their beautiful little girl fall so much; why couldn’t she put on a jacket by herself like her brother could at the same age; why was turning the page of her favorite book so hard; and why couldn’t she use a pencil to draw a circle or a picture.

The SCC occupational therapy assessment showed a weakness in her hand muscles, gross motor delays, problems with balance and walking, and eye-hand coordination. Fatima did not have a dominate hand and struggled with visual perception tests. She found it hard to concentrate and often became frustrated with activities.

The SCC occupational therapist and social worker helped the parents understand the diagnosis from the neurologist and how sessions at SCC and at exercises at home could help. Armed with additional understanding, the parents became strong advocates for their daughter and her development.

After four months of occupational therapy services, Fatima showed improvement in holding the pencil, but it was still difficult for her to move her wrist. She can sit in a chair and do several activities for 3-5 minutes at a time. Her walking is a bit steadier and she has enjoyed fun activities at SCC where she can play with other children. Her visual perception has also improved including visual closure or the ability to visualize the whole of an object or picture when part of it is hidden and form constancy or the ability to recognize forms and objects as the same in various situations.

Obviously, Fatima will need more help, but now she and her parents know that progress is possible and she is enrolled in ongoing occupational therapy at SCC. This level of individual attention is hard for Palestinians to find in Jerusalem. Your donations to the American Friends of the Spafford Children’s Center (AFSCC) are critically important to continue theses services to Fatima and other children like her. Remember that all of the money you contribute to AFSCC goes directly to SCC as all AFSCC expenses are paid through donations made by the Board of Directors.

Threading beads is a challenge
Threading beads is a challenge
Helping with hand eye coordination
Helping with hand eye coordination
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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
$121,106 raised of $200,000 goal
 
1,061 donations
$78,894 to go
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