June 14, 2024
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June 14, 2024
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What We’re Doing With Your Donations: AMIT’s ‘Heal The Children Campaign’

Ten days after the start of the war and following an intensive needs-based assessment performed by our educational and counseling staff throughout Israel, AMIT Children launched its “Heal the Children” campaign. Immediately AMIT’s supporters across the United States and Israel responded to the call magnificently and in a brief time $2,102,332 was raised from over 2,000 donors including over 500 who were new to AMIT’s work. These funds are over and above AMIT’s significant annual support to the children of Israel.

This funding immediately provided the AMIT network and its professionals with the means to respond to the crisis in real time—with flexibility, creativity and measurable impact. Here is the impact of the campaign to date:

Trauma Therapy: Thousands of students throughout Israel and especially in front line communities (and their families) are victims of trauma, some of it severe. Knowing that every study shows that early intervention for trauma victims leads to the best short- and long-term outcomes and helps avoid post-traumatic stress disorder, AMIT immediately reorganized its thousands of teachers to become mentors (with 1:5 ratio of mentor/student in at-risk areas and 1:15 in the rest of the country), and mentors were given a crash course in identifying those children showing any sign of trauma. A psychological hotline was created to give critical guidance to our mentors. In daily mentor-led meetings, any student showing a sign of trauma or even suspected of being in need was given five sessions of therapy with the option to extend to 10 based on the therapist’s recommendation. To date, hundreds of students are receiving counseling. After 10 sessions further therapy sessions are also provided. All of this is immediately being provided at no cost to our students versus a current wait for therapy via regular channels of three to six months until initial evaluation. The cost to AMIT is $590,000—each therapy session costs $100 and the staffing of the hotline $90,000. Expenses are projected for the year. The battle against trauma will be long and hard, and recovery will take time and effort. Additional funds are being held in reserve to meet the need because we still do not know the scale of the challenge, whether government funding will become available to meet the need and some students are still unwilling to meet with therapists.

Learning Centers: With the evacuation of thousands of families from the South and North to hotels and private homes, students, many left traumatized from the first days of the war, were left without structure and purpose. AMIT (collaborating with its many partners) established learning centers in Eilat, Dead Sea, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for displaced students. Each location carried its own unique and immense logistical challenges including facility, staffing, programming and equipment. Staffing of each of these centers required the recruitment and housing of educational professionals, therapists and national service volunteers. Today about 1,000 students attend these learning centers across Israel. The cost of these centers including the creation/rental of facilities, and salaries for staff is $330,000. While the national service participants are volunteers, AMIT is responsible for their room/board with a cost of $175,000 projected. Students across the country not staying in evacuation areas were absorbed into existing AMIT schools across the country necessitating the retention of additional staff.

It is not at all clear whether the government will reimburse these costs in part or whole. Any funds reimbursed to AMIT will be replenished into the emergency fund to provide additional resources.

Days of Respite: Students across the AMIT are scattered throughout Israel and lose the “in-person” support from friends. Social media is not an adequate replacement. In response to guidance by our in-house psychological team, AMIT created mass gatherings of AMIT students from all over Israel in one location. In a safe and relaxing environment students are given the opportunity to reconnect, unite and talk face-to-face. Thousands of students have benefitted from this type of programming. To date $210,000 has been spent to provide this important outlet.

Laptops for Sderot Teaching Staff: Among the cities of Israel, Sderot is perhaps the largest. AMIT is responsible for the education of all the students in the city. At the request of the municipality and after learning that the “family laptop” was not sufficient for the many users within a family, AMIT sourced and provided 500 laptops to educators from Sderot. $237,000 was spent to provide this vital equipment.

Care Packages/Other Support: In perhaps the most horrible expense and recognizing that every loss to the people of Israel is tragic, the AMIT family has lost 40 IDF student alumni and faculty during the war, including a hostage taken on the first day. Tangible need-based support is provided in a compassionate, careful and caring way to each family during the shiva period and in the hard weeks that follow. To date we have spent $131,000 on these efforts including the retention of specially trained staff to look after the families long after the initial trauma of the loss passes.

AMIT was serving the children of Sderot and many other of the children of these front-line communities before the war; during this horrible time and will be there long after everyone goes home. We are committed to this holy mission and thank all those who have made this vital ongoing work possible.

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