Long before the coronavirus struck its blow to “normal” life, Noam,* now a seventh grader at Boys Town Jerusalem, was out of control.

At home, his widowed mother had essentially lost control over his frequent tantrums, serious behavioral issues and near-total lack of boundaries. “Quite simply, Noam needs a father,” says BTJ social worker Hadas Knopf. “His dad’s death from cancer several years ago left him badly scarred, angry and desperately lacking a role model.”

Fortunately, once Noam entered Boys Town, his homeroom teacher Rabbi Verker quickly took Noam under his wing to give him guidance and love. He began to make friends, take his studies seriously, and even gain self-confidence. And then corona turned his world upside down.

“Throughout the long weeks of the lockdown, Noam’s mother continued to work so hard day and night cleaning offices to support them,” Hadas explains. “Noam was left completely alone.”

Although she made every effort to stay in contact, Hadas was unable to reach the boy after his cell phone broke at the start. “By the time I was finally able to talk to him, he could hardly communicate. After 24-hours-a-day of computer video games, he’d almost forgotten how to speak.

“Once school gradually reopened, Noam and I resumed our regular sessions in my office,” Hadas reports. “We found a common language in one he’d created revolving around the super heroes, the players from these video games. He uses them to express his struggle against the many obstacles that seem so overwhelming.”

The best medicine of all was coming back to Boys Town Jerusalem, Hadas exclaims. “This isn’t just a school. For Noam, it’s a haven where he can be with friends, share real adventures, and enjoy the crucial support and love we can offer him to grow and thrive.”

*not his real name

Noam is doing better, but with classes about to end for the summer, he needs BTJ’s summer camp. Click here to learn more about our camp and to sponsor Noam so he can continue improving.

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