Cherna Moskowitz & Mercaz Cherna: Changing The Lives Of Girls At Risk
On a pastoral hill in the Jerusalem suburb of Beit Hakerem lies a first of its kind center in Israel for teenage girls from a religious background who have experienced some form of emotional distress or trauma. Every day, 15 girls who have either dropped out of high school or are at risk of dropping out, walk through the doors of Mercaz Cherna. Some of the girls have been hospitalized. Some have lived on the streets. Each girl has her own story.
Mercaz Center is part of Menifa – Leverage for Life, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to prevent teens from dropping out of high school and to reintegrate those who have already left into normative frameworks. The center provides these girls with an alternative learning program that combines academic studies with therapies and recreational activities. The girls also take a variety of professional training courses including hairstyling, confectionary, and gardening, for which they receive a certificate upon completion.
Mercaz Cherna works hard to provide an individualized program for each teen, allowing for her full development. Before one girl, Esty, came to the program, she spent a year locked up in her room isolated from people. Now she is a lively teenager who has made new friends and participates in activities. She is on her way to completing high school, a feat that seemed impossible a year ago.
Mercaz Cherna was established in partnership with WIZO USA and the Cherna Moskowitz and Irving Moskowitz family.
Menifa hopes to expand its activities in the center for the next school year by adding a music therapy program and a digital and media center that will offer the girls computer training, a course in graphics design, and other activities. “Hopefully this will be a pilot program that will grow into other such facilities,” said Cherna Moskowitz.
To organize a private or group tour of Menifa, contact Alisa Bodner at firstname.lastname@example.org
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