Feature Stories

Baby Help in Argentina Goes Intergenerational

Lucrecia, a three-year resident of the LeDor VaDor senior complex in Buenos Aires, Argentina, garners strength from the weekly intergenerational activities with “her kids” at JDC’s Baby Help nursery and day care.
Lucrecia, a three-year resident of the LeDor VaDor senior complex in Buenos Aires, Argentina, garners strength from the weekly intergenerational activities with “her kids” at JDC’s Baby Help nursery and day care.

Watch the video below to learn about the JDC-established Baby Help program, a social and emotional haven for Argentina’s youngest Jews.

“Mora” (teacher) Rosana Jacofsky, a long-time teacher at JDC’s Baby Help program in Buenos Aires, Argentina dedicates the majority of her time to children with physical and psychological difficulties at the day care. “We are constantly reminded that love can break through any barrier,” she says.

Watching her students interacting with the elderly residents of the LeDor VaDor senior complex, Rosana revels in the value, for all ages, of this intergenerational exchange. “I wish that every child would have a chance to experience something like this.”

JDC established the Baby Help program in Argentina in 2003 to provide vital services and Jewish connection for impoverished pregnant women and children (birth to 5 years) following the country’s devastating economic collapse. In addition to ensuring basic necessities such as food, milk, vitamins, vaccinations, and diapers, the Buenos Aires center offers day care so parents can find and maintain jobs, and welcomes dozens of young families for spirited celebrations of Shabbat and Jewish holidays throughout the year. Many of the families are single-parent households; many are troubled homes with serious social issues that take a toll on the children.

Through these social services and gatherings, Baby Help is instilling Jewish tradition and a sense of belonging among families who may otherwise feel estranged from the Jewish community. “The teachers and volunteers constantly transmit Jewish traditions and culture. Over 200 people regularly come to celebrate major holidays together,” adds Viviana Bendersky, Baby Help Program Director.

Attendance has soared since Baby Help recently began to organize joint activities for the kids with residents of the LeDor VaDor senior complex, where Baby Help is housed. For the elderly who share in activities such as arts and crafts, gardening, and Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday afternoons, these programs often improve their outlook on living in an old age home, making the space seem more like a family atmosphere.

Lucrecia, 89, has been a permanent resident of LeDor VaDor for three years. Despite her physical difficulties and needing to use a walker to get around, she comes to Baby Help every Friday to visit “her kids” (as she affectionately calls them). “I look forward to lighting the candles, singing together, and cutting the challah bread. It reminds me of when I was a child!”

Lucrecia’s caretakers observe how uplifting these intergenerational are for her. “We see her laugh out loud with the children, enjoy their company, flower them with kisses and hugs while singing songs.” After every Baby Help visit, she speaks about how wonderful the kids were for several days on end.

The children share in Lucrecia’s joy, benefitting from the extra love and attention while also learning about aging and people's physical and other limitations. Over time they form loving bonds and reinforce one another’s emotional well-being.

Take 18-month-old Ezequiel S.: Born with a severe congenital spine malformation, Ezequiel has permanently impaired mobility and extreme urinary tract complications. His parents, who struggle to make ends meet on their meager earnings as school teachers, feared they would need to quit working in order to meet his special needs.

Desperate to find a loving and healthy environment for their son, Ezequiel’s parents brought him to Baby Help last year. The caretakers were able to provide him with the specialized medical and educational attention he needed, enabling his parents to keep their jobs and support the family. Today, Ezequiel is a happy baby boy, curious to learn about his surroundings and excited to engage with the elderly visitors who add warmth to his environment.

Ezequiel’s “Mora” treasures these intergenerational programs as much as he and Lucrecia do. “Every time I see an elderly resident’s face light up, I’m filled with emotion and pride. The seniors thank us profusely; they want to know about the kids that they play with and are filled with love and life when they share time together,” said “Mora” Rosana. “The intergenerational bonds are really something special: hugs, smiles, and unspoken gestures are a common language here.”

Tags for this story: Baby Help, Children, Elderly

Subscribe to our RSS feed: Feature Stories – JDC Around the World
X

An error occurred during your login.

X

JDC, Cookies, and Your Privacy

Cookies are small pieces of information sent by our web server for storage on your computer, to be retrieved when you return to this site. We use cookies to allow you faster, more convenient access, and to prevent you from being required to log in on every page of our sites.

For more information on JDC’s use of cookies, read our Privacy Policy.

X

An Error Occurred

X

Logging In With One of Your Social Web Site Logins

Instead of trying to remember a bunch of special username/password combinations to log in to different web sites that you visit, you can now link your account on this web site to your account on one (or more) of the social media web sites shown and log in with the same username/password combination that you use on that social web site to log in to our site.

To provide this connection in a secure manner, we use Gigya, a social network connection provider that works behind the scenes to make safe, secure connections between user accounts on different systems, such as popular social media web sites like Facebook and web sites like ours where you are actively involved in social issues and causes.

Each time you log in, Gigya uses special application programming interfaces (APIs) to establish the connection between the sites and validate your username and password. Neither our web site or Gigya receive or store your social network passwords.

In addition to reducing the number of logins you have to remember, connecting your accounts can make it quicker and easier to share an activity or cause you feel passionately about from our web site with your friends on your social web sites.

You can break the connection between your accounts at any time.