Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bright Stars Program provides opportunities for Bethlehem kids

The Constellations newsletter from Bright Stars of Bethlehem arrived announcing activities for all ages through the Bright Stars Program, Azwaj and Ajyal.

To see all the news, go to the website:

Brights Stars is associated with Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem -

Bright Stars of Bethlehem has witnessed the bloom of spring and promise in the lives of those assisted through the support and prayers of our friends here in the US. This support, which springs from many open and generous hearts, enables youth, families and older adults to find new ways of learning and living in the Holy Land amid occupation and conflict.

And now a hope that many thought only a far-off dream, Dar al-Kalima college is “blooming” from the foundation to the top on the hillside of Bethlehem. As construction continues so that classes might begin on-site this fall, excitement and promise build for young adults and people of all ages in Bethlehem and beyond for a brighter future.

The newsletter reports:

Computer classes, field trips, yoga sessions and lectures from local spiritual leaders and social care professionals are just a few of the activities available to participants in the Bright Stars, Azwaj and Ajyal programs run by the Diyar Consortium in Bethlehem.

The Bright Stars Program provides opportunities for self-discovery and skill development for over 500 children and youth, ages 6-16, through its after-school programs, Friday clubs and Summer Academy. By giving students a variety of options and allowing them to try different activities and choose for themselves what they would like to do, the Bright Stars Program is helping children develop a sense of self and the feeling that they play a role in determining their future -

The Azwaj Program for young families focuses on education, spirituality and recreation for 18 young couples and families with young children. With the usual challenges of parenting and the added pressures of living in a city surrounded by a 25-foot-high concrete wall, parents in Bethlehem need extra support and opportunities to give their families a more “normal” life. The Azwaj Program is combating Christian emigration by making it more possible for families to stay in Palestine -

The Ajyal Elder Care Program cares for the physical, social and spiritual well-being of 500 senior citizens in the Bethlehem area. Care strategies are tailored to the activity level of the seniors themselves – there are the “go-go”s, the “slow-go”s and the “no-go”s – with community activities and group meals for the more active members and mobile nursing care for those who are home-bound. With traditional family structures shifting and many seniors needing extra support, the Ajyal community helps seniors believe in “life after 55 that is worth living” -

Together, the Bright Stars Program, Azwaj and Ajyal make up the new cluster of ministries called “Dar al-Kalima Community Building”. The programs themselves have been operating for several years, but have been newly grouped together through the recent restructuring of the Diyar Consortium - - (the collective name for Dar Annadwa, Dar al-Kalima Health & Wellness, Dar al-Kalima College and Dar al-Balad). Raida Mansour, previously the manager of the Ajyal program, is now the manager of the entire cluster of programs. Her sincere love of God and sense of call shines through in her commitment to doing God's work in her community, serving the underserved and helping people live abundant lives.

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