Being everybody's grandparents
Retired couple Poria and Eli Somers decide to give something back to community, move to youth village for one year to become in-house grandparents to its residents. 'Our home is open 24 hours a day, any child in the village who needs advice can come to us whenever they want to,' says Eli
Poria and Eli Somer's living room is always available to their grandchildren, and they make sure to take advantage of that. Dozens of teens visit the Somers every evening.
The Somers have been educators for years. When Poria retired as a teacher at a school in Tekoa, she wanted to continue with her educational efforts. Together with her husband Eli, a principal at the Kefar Etzion field school they "extended" their family.
The two joined Project Grandparents at the Hodayot religious youth village near the Golani junction. They moved to the youth village and 'adopted' youngsters who emigrated from various countries and were settled in the village.
"We thought - we are still full of vim and vigor, so we searched for a way to give back to society," said Eli, father of five and grandfather of eight. "We have lived here in a caravan for four months and feel extremely happy."
They begin their days early. After morning prayers, they begin meetings with the teens who study in the village. "Our home is open 24 hours a day, any child in the village who needs advice can come to us whenever they want to," notes Eli. "They come visit their grandfather and grandmother, get some advice, a cookie and if needed a smack on the head. We have dozens of youngsters in our caravan every night."
"It's a wonderful feeling, to be a grandmother to hundreds of new grandchildren," adds Poria. "I think around 150 out of the 200 students at the village have already been in our home. I try to give each and every boy and girl the feeling that I'm their grandmother."
Eli Stein, principal of the Hodayot Youth Village, takes great pleasure in discussing the project. The project, now in its third year, places a retired couple in the village for a one year period, a year where they separate entirely from their previous surroundings and are willing to volunteer a year of their lives to the youngsters in the village
Yael, 19, a high school senior, concludes: "I come over to talk to them and I feel like they are my real grandparents."
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