Katrin, the Our Lady Woman of Valor Pastoral Center social worker, reports on the activities of the youth club at the center in south Tel Aviv.

olwv youthclub2

olwv youthclub1

Since May 2016, ‘Our Lady Woman of Valor’ has a new addition. We have extended our courtyard and are renting a small apartment from a neighbouring plot that is now hosting our youth club. Twice a week in the afternoon, after finishing school, about 35 adolescents from the neighbourhood gather to spend time together, playing basketball, doing arts and crafts, baking and on Sundays always share a warm meal (and on Wednesdays at least a snack).

Sharing a vision, one in which we see the impoverished neighbourhoods of South Tel Aviv prosper and become a place of safety and community, we are offering these young people, who otherwise roam around in the streets, parks, the central bus station and skate parks of South Tel Aviv, a place where they can spend time when group dynamics are supervised, the use of offensive language is curbed and where they can feel at home. Feeling at home is especially crucial for migrant children, who often have to defend their sense of feeling at home in Israel despite the fact that they were born here, speak Hebrew as their first language and growing up with the various facets of secular Jewish life. Still when asked, the kids call themselves Filipino, Nigerian, Ghanaian, South African, Half Turkish-Half Filipino, Half Indian-Half Filipino etc. even though they know far less about their parents’ cultural or religious home. So here we are the church (as the kids call the youth club) where their parents already feel at home trying to strengthen their roots by knowing that they have found a spiritual home also at the Pastoral Center.

We are well on the way to making this new rented apartment our home. We painted, decorated, cooked, baked, played board games, table tennis and always also play basketball. We are still working on improving our club by offering more activities, increasing the number of volunteers, growing in our community but first of all thanking you all for your support, especially Pontifical Mission, the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher and Don Mario and his parish in Italy.