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Twinned Kindergartens Program Thriving in a Region of Turmoil

On April 24th a group of kindergarteners from an Israeli elementary school visited a kindergarten class in a nearby school to deliver an olive tree to plant in their school yard. It’s not exactly the kind of event you’d find making front page news these days, until you realize that this exchange took place between an Arab kindergarten from Elin Aquaba and a Jewish kindergarten from Moshav Aminadav. Even more extraordinary was a sign that came along with the plant. It read in part, “This olive tree was planted in the hope that the children of both kindergartens will grow and get bigger like this olive tree. We chose an olive tree because it represents peace, camaraderie and dialogue.”

It was one of several activities that these children shared together this year as part of the Twinned Kindergarten Program at the Israel Tennis Center in Jerusalem. “We want to give Israel’s young children everything, and with this program we actually do just that,” explained the Kindergarten Program’s National Director Orit Mash. “Our goal is to teach the values of peace and tolerance that we passionately hope will last a lifetime.”

The Twinned Kindergarten Program was launched by the Israel Tennis Centers in 2005 in conjunction with the Peres Center for Peace, a leading coexistence organization founded in 1996 by the President of Israel and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres. Since then, thousands of children have taken part in a variety of activities to not only enhance coordination, quickness, balance and motor skills, but to build self-esteem, confidence and understanding. This coexistence project is one of several social impact programs at the ITC’s 14 centers throughout Israel that help Israel’s young people to become strong, confident and productive members of their communities. The others work with youth at risk, children with special physical and developmental needs and immigrants assimilating into Israel from Ethiopia and Russia.

“We believe the Twinned Kindergarten Program can help kids understand the values of tolerance and compassion,” said Morris Ohayon, ITC – Jerusalem Manager. “Teaching this at an early age is especially important in our country, where turmoil becomes an unfortunate way of life for some. We hope this program can serve as a way of empowering these children to make a difference in their lives, the lives of their families, communities and the whole State of Israel.”

About the Israel Tennis Centers Foundation:
The Israel Tennis Centers Foundation (ITC) is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization that has worked since 1976 to help Israeli youth develop life skills through the medium of sport. The ITC serves over 20,000 children annually, many of them from disadvantaged neighborhoods or outlying development towns throughout Israel. The ITC’s 14 centers stretch from Kiryat Shmona on the Lebanese border in the North to Beer Sheva bordering the Negev Desert in the South.

Jacqueline S. Glodstein
Vice President, Global Development

Richard Weber
Global Director of Marketing

Rated as a top charity on charity navigator

The Israel Tennis Centers Foundation (ITC) has received a 4-star rating, the highest possible, from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent evaluator of not-for-profit organizations. This exceptional rating indicates that the ITC outperforms most other charities in America, adhering to the highest standards of governance and other best practices, and consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way.

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