Summer vacation! A time for outdoor fun, family together time, recreation, and a general feeling of freedom! The sun, the pool, the pajama mornings, the sleepovers, and the excitement of being on break all add up to weeks of what parents hope their kids will define as an amazing summer.
Sounds about right? In theory… but not exactly.
You are probably like most parents who know that this is not exactly the reality of the weeks between school finishing and September 1st. For most, the schedule juggling, the pressure of making the days exciting, the exhaustion from the long days, the heat, and the different sleep schedules, leads to everything but an amazing few weeks. This is only magnified for young families in which parents continue to work and have the extra financial burden of childcare so that they can make ends meet.
In Israel, where summer camps are not the norm, parents often find themselves overwhelmingly stressed by the lack of available options for their children during summer vacation weeks. While for the younger children, July is often subsidized, camp ends at 1:30, leaving parents the options of half days of work or exorbitant prices for after-care programs. August, such options don’t exist at all! Families are forced to rely on grandparents, when possible, or pay babysitters, or take days off of work. For parents employed in jobs which allow flexibility, sometimes they can accommodate their schedules. But think about low income families, whose jobs are often much more rigid in terms of hours and flexibility. The father who works cleaning buildings, the mother who works in the supermarket. Families like these work for their daily meals. Families like these do not have the luxury of paid vacation days, because every day is income which provides for their children’s necessities; milk, diapers, school supplies. What does August look like for these families?
If the school year provides challenge for such families, when the children are at least within a safe, productive environment until the end of the day, when these children have no such arrangement in July and August, imagine the worry and burden this places on the parents! Thousands of children are left to care for themselves throughout the day. Children who have no one to cry “I’m bored” to, because their parents need to work to put food on the table. For these children, summer vacation can be exhausting and lonely.
At Yad Ezra V’Shulamit, we know these families first-hand. We see the worry on these parents faces as summer approaches. We know that while some are vacationing and soaking up the sun, others are struggling with the guilt of leaving their children so they can go to work. While some take their families to restaurants during summer break, others worry that their children won’t have a hot meal, like they usually have during the school year.
Help us help them! Donate now to Yad Ezra V’Shulamit.