This past Tuesday, 50 young women from France and Germany came together at WIZO's Tel Aviv headquarters for a closing celebration to mark the end of an impactful year volunteering at WIZO daycare centers. The program, which began in 2015 with just 10 volunteers and has grown steadily every year since, is run by World WIZO’s Early Age Division, which matches the European volunteers with WIZO daycare centers across Israel, and in conjunction with The Israeli Volunteer Association.
“These young women are very close to my heart,” said Avital Blumenthal, Chairperson of WIZO’s Early Age Division. “They experience life in Israel while learning how to care for our precious children. Working with children allows you to see the world through their eyes. You learn along with them, experiencing and exploring together.”
"These volunteers, most of whom are not Jewish, also become our most important ambassadors when they go back to their home countries, many of which are experiencing rising antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment," Blumenthal said.
The volunteers, all between the ages of 18-25 and from a wide variety of disciplines, took turns sharing about their volunteer experiences at WIZO daycare centers. Jeanne and Elodie, a pair of volunteers from France, spoke about how they forged close bonds with the children and the teachers.
Several daycare center directors also came to the closing event to show their appreciation to the dedicated volunteers. During an emotional ceremony, the directors expressed how these women are more than just volunteers, they are family.
The volunteers feel the same way.
“I don’t know how I’m going to leave this place," said Marie, a German volunteer at the WIZO UK sponsored Mina & Everard Goodman daycare center in Tel Aviv. “I have watched these kids grow so much throughout the year. I hope to come back and visit soon. A piece of myself will always be here with them.”
Kaylin Berinhout contributed to this report.
Photo & Video Credits: Yonatan Sredni