Get to Know Neve Michael Children’s Village

November 30th 2014

Hava Levene Get to Know Neve Michael Childrens VillageWe wanted to find out more about Neve Michael Children’s Village in Pardes Hanna so we got in touch with Hava Levene, the Programs and Projects Director. Hava grew up in Washington DC and made Israel her permanent home over 46 years ago. One day she showed up at Neve Michael’s doors asking if they needed her, and when they welcomed her with open arms she never looked back. Since then she has felt that her work is incredibly meaningful every day. Check out the full interview below to hear what else Hava had to say about Neve Michael.

Q: When was Neve Michael founded and what need did it fill at that time?

A: Neve Michael was founded in the ’40s when Jewish Agency undercover agents began to save Jewish children from Holocaust Europe. Neve Michael 4 Get to Know Neve Michael Childrens Village

Q: What was it like building Neve Michael during the early years? 

A: It was a challenge, but remember everything was a challenge in those days, even harder for children who had no real family or experienced a traumatic childhood.

Q: What brought you to Neve Michael? 

A: I made Aliyah in 1968 with my husband. We got on a plane, I was 7 months pregnant with no work, no place to live, 4 suitcases, and we wound up in Pardes Chana. I walked down the road one day, began to talk to the children, and the rest is history.

Neve Michael 5 Get to Know Neve Michael Childrens VillageQ: What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen over the years? 

A: Better living conditions for the children – which is so important because this is the only real home that they have. Better food, wonderful professional therapy, psychological help and evaluations. We have many more positive changes we’d like to implement, and with adequate funding, hopefully we can make them happen.

Q: Is there any particular success story that comes to mind? 

A: A mother of three who who spent 8 years at Neve Michael and came from a terrible home situation is a family unit mother here and in the process of finishing her master’s degree as well. Now that’s nachas! (pride or joy)

Neve Michael 2 Get to Know Neve Michael Childrens Village Q: What kind of community events or fundraisers do you hold?

A: The reality is, not nearly enough. We need more people to know that we exist. That is why it is so important that people come visit us. After visiting Neve Michael, you will continue to carry a piece of these wonderful children in your heart, and you will leave with a smile and a renewed sense of gratitude.

Q: What kind of new projects have been started in recent years? 

A: We have added more advanced programs including Individual Pet Therapy, Carpentry, Philharmonic music programs for children at risk, and a Music Conservatorium. We’ve also started a Therapy and Enrichment Center, Counseling Program for Families at Risk, a Children’s Emergency Center, and the first and only Teenage Girl’s Crisis Center.

Neve Michael 7 Get to Know Neve Michael Childrens Village

Q: What is your big project dream? 

A: We’d like to renovate two local 50 year old buildings so that we can take in more children and make a place for graduates to come and stay while in the army and post-army. We would also love to hear more and more success stories in the years to come.

Q: How can visitors or volunteers get involved? 

A: We love to host groups. Visitors can come spend time with the children and eat lunch with them. It makes the children so happy to meet new people who come especially to see them. It truly makes their day.Neve Michael 6 Get to Know Neve Michael Childrens Village

Q: Where do you see Neve Michael in 5 years?  

A: Saving more children at risk, providing a home and guidance for graduates who still need us, more children doing the matriculation exams, and seeing the old buildings renovated. Neve Michael is on its way to becoming the number one home for children at risk in Israel. With proper funding, we will continue to grow, and we are grateful to any individual or group that contributes. Our mission is to give each and every boy and girl the life that they deserve to have in this world.

Learn more about Neve Michael & their activities on their website: http://nevemichael.com/


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