- Link: Jewish National Fund of Canada
- Article: Update on The Israel Asper Community Action Centre, Ofaqim (Jewish National Fund, January 2012)
The Israel Asper Community Action Centre – Ofaqim, Israel
In May 2003, The Asper Foundation and Jewish National Fund of Canada funded the establishment of The Asper Family Community Action Centre in Ofaqim, Israel. The Centre has since been renamed The Israel Asper Community Action Centre to honour the memory of Dr. Israel Asper, z”l, Founder of The Asper Foundation, who passed away on October 7, 2003.
Originally started as a centre for the Betar Youth Movement, it has since become home to Ofaqim’s Youth Department, taking on a central role in this rural and socially-disadvantaged community. The Centre serves thousands of youth every year. In an effort to provide relevant programming for teens, at the start of every academic year, all teens in the city are asked to fill out a questionnaire asking what specific activities and enrichment programs they prefer. The most requested programming is related to professional development. As such, the Centre offers a wide variety of courses ranging from computerized architectural design, computer graphics, photography, videography and interior design to courses on how to be a dog trainer or how to repair cell phones.
The Centre works to nourish the soul and strengthen the person. To this end, they run scouting and volunteer programs, have two choir groups, two theatre groups, self-empowerment programming and leadership programs. The Centre is home to Ofaqim’s Big Brother/Big Sister program and an afternoon program for girls at-risk. are run from the Centre. During holidays and vacations, the Centre hosts art programs, performances, stand-up comedy, night cafes, staying open late into the night.
The very special partnership that The Asper Foundation has built with the City of Ofaqim over the past two decades has provided an entire generation a safe space where they can realize their potential and allow themselves to dream of a life with possibilities.