PACT - Afula
Parents and Children Together (PACT) in Afula (Northern Israel) provides comprehensive enrichment and community services for Ethiopian-Israeli youngsters, their family, and the community. Our support brings this "educational head start" to 800 children, birth through 12 years of age.
To learn more about PACT, read an overview of the project or the most recent PACT and PACT Plus Afula Mid-Year Report.
PACT Provides Educational Enrichment and Social Services to Ethiopian-Israeli Preschoolers and Their Families
Last year, five year-old Noam joined the activities at the Gevanim Enrichment Center. It was a disaster. He was wild and out of control. His older sister would bring him but she would sit glumly on one side, embarrassed by his constant disruptions. She told Tziona, the Parents And Children Together (PACT) Coordinator at the Gevanim Center, that she despaired of her little brother's behavior and neither she nor her parents could handle him.
Tziona decided to visit Noam's kindergarten. Observing his behavior in an additional framework provided an important insight, as Tziona discovered that in a more structured environment, Noam was capable of being relatively calm and cooperative, provided rules and boundaries were clear to him.
Tziona then invited Noam's parents to meet with her and the PACT Ethiopian-Israeli educational liaison working in Noam's kindergarten. Noam's father, Gad, came alone to the meeting. "I'd like us to make a kind of contract, a behavior agreement with Noam," explained Tziona. "Do I need to be a part of this?" was Gad's response. "At home, if he doesn't do what he's told, I just tell him he has to!"
Nevertheless, the process went ahead with Gad's reluctant participation. Together with Noam, the parties drew up an agreement, with concrete examples of situations and reasonable demands to which Noam could relate: "If I play with Legos, I will clear up afterwards... If I want to take something, I'll ask for it first."
Noam kept to the agreement, encouraged by warm, positive reinforcement. In Tziona's words, "A different Noam soon emerged—a delightful, lively child able to accept rules and limits." Meanwhile, his appreciative dad began to attend Gevanim regularly. One day he arrived with an unruly two-year-old in tow, Noam's younger brother, Yinon. History was about to repeat itself—only this time, Gad was ready and willing to work with Yinon, supported by PACT's Gevanim staff.
PACT is a strategic, citywide, early-childhood intervention program that provides comprehensive educational enrichment and community services for Ethiopian-Israeli preschoolers. Multi-faceted, PACT focuses on the child and family, equipping preschoolers with the basic skills, confidence, and knowledge they need to enter the Israeli school system on equal footing with their veteran Israeli peers. Additionally, PACT strengthens the Ethiopian-Israeli community by promoting family, community, and professional empowerment.