2nd place goes to Adopt a Safta.
With 11,047 votes, the Am-Yisrael foundation will be awarded $5,000 for their program, which pairs young people with the elderly to lessen their loneliness.
Adopt-A-Safta is a nonprofit initiative that pairs young adults in Israel with lonely elderly. It’s a Community of ‘Grandchildren’ Adopting Lonely ‘Grandparents’ across Israel.
Working off of the Big Brother/Big Sister model, young volunteers “adopt” a grandmother or grandfather that is in need of love and attention for weekly visitations. Of the approximately 150,000 Survivors in Israel today, of which 40 pass per day (on average,) their consistent number one complaint year in and year out is simple loneliness when polled by NGOs.
The goal is to train as many volunteers as possible and to connect these two communities; young adults seeking to make meaningful contributions with intergenerational contact, and the lonely elderly in need of warmth and connection while we still are blessed with the presence of this holy generation.
Beyond the adoptions, Adopt-A-Safta regularly takes care of Survivors for Jewish and Israeli national holidays, coordinates volunteer days, and produces Israel’s largest in-English Yom HaShoah memorial ceremony hosted in Tel Aviv for over 1000 young adults.
Typically, volunteers are young adults post-college between the ages of 25-45. Each volunteer commits to a minimum of 1.5 hours per week for at least a year. No skills are needed beyond a small training session with a social worker.
Shalom Corps Notes:
Project exists in different forms in communities around the world, but could certainly be scaled and focus on Holocaust survivors.