Empowerment Program at Work

September 25, 2013 - Read about the students' enriching experiences at the Dayscape Senior Center giving out teddy bears and cheering up the senior residents
Click here to read about their wonderful experiences:

March 2013 - Students of SFJA brighten up the day for seniors at the Daniel Cantor Senior Center in Sunrise Florida with gifts of cuddly teddy bears.

December 10, 2012  - During Chanukah, the 'Festival of Lights', SFJA students brightened up the day for the seniors at The Court of Palm Aire Assisted Living Facility through their Bear Givers Chanukah Program.  

October 4, 2012
- During the holiday of Succot, SFJA students who visited with the residents of the Dayscape Senior Day Care Center in Coconut Creek to distribute teddy bears were pleased to be performing a mitzvah and to discover that their joy in giving and bringing happiness to the senior residents was just as great as those on the receiving end.

Click here to read what students had to say about their wonderful experience.

October 3, 2012 - Happiness was shared all around as the students of SFJA distributed teddy bears to the residents of the Tamarac Senior Center

Click here to read what students wrote about this heart-warming experience.

January 2012
- Heartfelt thank you letter from the Activities Director at the Renaissance Assisted Living Facility for the visit by the students of SFJA in which they distributed teddy bears and hugs to the elderly residents as part of the Empowerment Program:

Dear Risa and Baila, 

 I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to you and the students of the South Florida Jewish Academy for visiting with the residents of the Renaissance Assisted Living facility this past December. The residents started asking months in advance if the children would be coming back to sing and hand out bears again. I think the residents’ favorite part of getting the bears was the hug that came with it. I must say that the residents talked about your visit for days.

I look forward to now making this an annual event. What a great mitzvah you and these children performed by visiting with my residents. Thanks again and we look forward to seeing you next year.

Joy C. Kanter
Activities Director
Renaissance ALF

October 2011 - The children from South Florida Jewish Academy went to visit the Daniel Cantor Senior Center in Sunrise, FL where they sang and distributed teddy bears for a Sukkot celebration.

March 2011 - Read how happy it made the students of SFJA to cheer up other students at Oakland Academy with gifts of teddy bears, a truly empowering activity with good feelings shared by all.

April 2010 & March 2011
- Students of SFJA brightened the day for hospitalized children at Joe Dimaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood, FL, with gifts of teddy bears and by helping them with crafts projects.

January 6, 2011
- South Florida Jewish Academy Art Show at the Addison Gallery in Boca Raton, Florida.
CLICK HERE to

September 2010 - Students of SFJA delighted the Special Needs adults at the Jewish Association for Residential Care (JARC) with their visit and their gifts of teddy bears.
Read the heartwarming letters written by the students and by the director of JARC about this wonderful and empowering event.

February 2010 - The special needs cheerleading team at Cheers Florida in Coconut Creek were very excited to be receiving teddy bears from the students at SFJA.  Please read the heartwarming letter of appreciation from the coach at Cheers Florida, and a sampling of notes from SFJA students describing their uplifting experience.

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“Children from the school who give one of these bears away also get to keep one for themselves. It is a great way for students to feel good about making a difference in someone’s life.”
“Children can also be ‘benefactors.’ The program teaches children that when they do an act of kindness, they receive something in return. When children give away a teddy bear, they receive a teddy bear to take home. The principle seems quite simple, but the result is truly amazing. Children at SLCD identified charitable organizations in other states and countries. They wrote letters to the children in these other programs and sent teddy bears to ‘make other children feel better.’ Despite severe developmental disabilities, each child had something to say about giving a gift. ‘I sent my teddy bear to a little boy in Mexico. He doesn’t have parents. I have a mommy and a daddy. He must be very sad.’ Children’s insights are precious. Letters were then received from the children who received the teddy bears.”
-Long Island Press
“This is a unique opportunity, where the clients who are often the recipients of goodwill, are now empowered to enhance the lives of others.” -Derek Saker, Director of Communications, OHEL
“The feeling the children get when they take that physical bear and that card they created to someone else is very empowering.” -Joseph Sprung, Founder and CEO, Bear Givers
“I was proud to make someone happy. It made me feel good inside to help someone else.” -Taylor, Student, South Florida Jewish Academy