Two years ago, Boys Town Jerusalem 10th grader Noah* had nothing left to lose. He felt rejected by his classmates, had lost trust in his teachers, and was devastated by his parents’ ceaseless, violent fighting. His depression grew deeper each day.

Only thanks to the lifesaving trust, encouragement and love of BTJ remedial teacher Mrs. Carmella Cohen did Noah begin to believe in himself and his ability to succeed. Today, the popular student excels in his studies, facing challenges with carefully-gained confidence.

“Noah had no faith in himself whatsoever, and his teachers had lost patience,” Carmella recalls. “His home situation was heartbreaking, while his pent-up emotions were literally destroying him. I started by becoming the first person to ever assure him, ‘You can and you will succeed.’ I began helping him with his studies, giving him love, attention, trust, and a listening ear.

Once his self-image began to improve, he gained the respect of his classmates. Steadily, Noah proved to us all – and to himself – that he could achieve scholastic excellence, be a friend, and cope with his traumatic homelife.

Carmella Cohen, now a remedial teacher for Special Education students after decades as a classroom teacher, unequivocally stresses: “Giving students confidence and encouragement is no less crucial than scholastic knowledge.”

“Uri,” a shy 11th grader, had never tasted success. Panicking before exams and too shy to speak up in class, Uri met with constant failure. “When he entered Boys Town and I began working with him, I needed to build up his self-confidence from zero,”

Carmella notes. “The day he believed in himself, he scored 90 on a math exam. This confidence sparked a
major change in his life
.” Carmella Cohen’s invaluable gifts to her students of trust and encouragement pay off richly.

“The boys don’t want to disappoint me,” she smiles. “So many Boys Town students face terrible, crippling emotional stress at home. They need as much love and trust as we can give. From there on, they can thrive.”

*Name changed for anonymity

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