PROGRAMMING

Three Organizations Show Us the Real Meaning of Belonging

By

Alicia Briggs

– VOL. 8

Community is at the heart of everything Venn does. At events, on the app, and in our physical spaces, Venn empowers  Neighbors to discover and support community-based organizations that are tackling local issues head-on. In recent years, Venn has partnered with many incredible organizations across the globe that embody the real meaning of belonging. Below, we highlight three of these partner organizations and the good work they do.

1. Elifelet, Tel Aviv, Israel

Elifelet is a wonderful organization in Tel Aviv that serves refugee children in the Shapira neighborhood. 

“These are the children of asylum seekers, as well as the children of foreign workers, both legal and illegal, who have married and started families in Israel,” explains Venn neighbor and Elifelet volunteer, Yoel Epstein. “The children were born in Israel, but are not recognized by the state as citizens, and have no legal status here. Consequently, they have no health care, no government services except for schooling (which is required by law). Elifelet provides these children with support and essential services that for other children here, are a matter of course.” 

Image of community organizations

In September, young violin students of Elifelet gathered in the backyard of Venn’s coworking space for a concert organized by Yoel.

 

Since 2019, Venn has partnered with Yoel and Elifelet to provide community spaces for violin lessons, mental health support, workshops, classes, volunteer nights, and storage space. 

“I have had many careers in my life, and I can say that teaching violin at Elifelet is by far the most satisfying work I have ever done. Music brings light into the lives of these children and brings dignity to them and their parents,” says Yoel.

“So far, my work has been with the community of asylum seekers and foreign workers. But my aspiration is to reach out to the whole community, to use music as a bridge between Shapiran and Shapiran, to see children from the ‘Torah Kernel’ playing in a community orchestra alongside the sons and daughters of Indians, Eritreans, and Philippinos.”

2. Clean Bushwick Initiative, Brooklyn, New York

Clean Bushwick Initiative is a community-based organization that aims to make Bushwick a healthier and cleaner place to live. They do this by organizing neighborhood cleanups and raising awareness on littering, recycling, and sustainability. They host various local educational workshops and environmental maintenance events. 

 Venn started to partner with the Clean Bushwick Initiative in 2020 when we hosted a Zoom workshop on how Neighbors can impact their local community. And through the Venn Member App, we’ve been able to promote their cleanup events to the larger community. 

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Clean Bushwick Initiatve volunteers posed before a mural completed by a local street artist to honor their amazing grassroots work.

The Clean Bushwick Initiative is the perfect example of what happens when everyday people join together to tackle a problem in their neighborhood that they don’t feel is being addressed. They empower each of us to take responsibility for the community we belong to and make it a cleaner, safer, and better place—together. 

3. Operation Breakthrough, Kansas City, Kansas

Operation Breakthrough supports children in Kansas City who are experiencing poverty. They provide educational programs, safe housing, emergency and advocacy services as well as parent programs. 

Venn partnered with Operation Breakthrough after one of our incredible neighbors, Vyonne Tezza, connected us. They first joined us as partners at a community auction where the proceeds were given to support Operation Breakthrough.

“Since then we have partnered for multiple events, from offsite volunteer opportunities to coffee house takeovers. It is such a rewarding feeling to work with local organizations that are making a real difference to the people in our community and to be able to organize others to support these causes,” reflects Kansas City Community Manager, Arie Cutler.