The end of sixth grade is a challenging moment for almost all Israeli children. Keti, from Jerusalem’s Ein Karem neighborhood, is no different. last year, she began a new middle school, the “Yasa” Israel Arts and Science Academy, leaving the safe confines of her elementary school where she had been for six warm years. But it wasn’t the notion of meeting hundreds of new young teens that troubled Keti; it was the thought that she would have to adjust to a much heavier academic workload.
“I knew that most of the kids at my new school were going to be a bit different, like me, so I wasn’t really scared about fitting in,” she reflected. “But I was nervous about the tons of extra classes and schoolwork that I was going to have to do. I have a hard time focusing at home and managing my time, and I didn’t think I would be able to do all the homework and keep up in all my subjects.”
Fortunately, Keti joined Negba’s Bogrim initiative to ease her academic transition into her new school. For Keti, now 14 and completing her second year in Negba’s program, it transformed her life. “I go to Negba three afternoons a week, and the activities are so much fun. The kids are nice, and my best friend even is there now. I can talk to the staff about anything. But the best thing is that I get help with my school work and I am keeping up with all my classes. I probably would be doing really poorly in some subjects without Negba’s help.” Though initially Keti came to Negba for the academic help, she now realizes that she is benefitting and growing from the social components of the program, too. “Negba is my personal place, like a warm home for me. I love the Thursday evening dinners we cook together, the picnics and the day camps during vacation when it’s so intimate and relaxed. If there were lots more kids in it, I wouldn’t get so much help and attention. I’m definitely more socially comfortable because of the program.”