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HEART Program: Help Educate and Renew Trust

A synagogue and an African American Baptist Church united to create an after-school academic enrichment program.

Community Contact Information:
Temple Sinai
Worcester, MA
http://www.templesinaiworcester.org/

Goals:

  • Provide tutoring services to academically at-risk children.
  • Strengthen local African American-Jewish relations.
  • Engage the congregation in interfaith community building.

Overview:
The congregation, which includes many educators and other professionals, wanted to provide personalized academic assistance to local children. The social action committee contacted a local church with which the synagogue had previously worked on community-building projects. Together, the leadership of the two congregations developed a plan for an after-school enrichment program.
 

Preparation:
Members of the communities donated funds for salaries and materials, as well as in-kind contributions of supplies and equipment. In addition, the project received grants from local organizations.

Project Implementation:
Children were provided with individual tutoring and homework assistance; activities in language and literature, the arts, mathematics, and science; computer training (using six complete systems pieced together from donations); and field trips for the enjoyment of nature, art, science and entertainment.

Results:
To celebrate the success of the program, a joint service was held at the synagogue, showcasing the spirit of fellowship, with excellent attendance by members of both congregations. A volunteer recognition celebration held at the end of the school year was well-attended and uplifting in spirit and substance.

The program has received favorable coverage, and strengthened African-American/Jewish relations within the local community.