47 My Piece of the Puzzle – Israel My Piece of the Puzzle (MPOP) runs a free summer overnight camp in Israel using underprivileged “teens-at-risk” as junior counselors for “children with special-needs.” In addition, they work with all of the campers and junior counselors during the school year via regular meetings and activities. MPOP believes that every child deserves the chance to feel successful and loved. The “special-needs children” go up and down the autistic spectrum, some have Down syndrome, others have Fragile X syndrome. The goal is the same with each of the two populations, and that is to prepare them to function successfully in today’s society, while they experience fun filled camp activities. The program is run by a carefully selected staff of volunteers, offers a wide range of activities such as swimming, zip lining, ropes course, sports, camping, and workshops in art, music, drama, cooking and dancing. Using “teens-at-risk” as junior counselors for “special-needs children” is another example of how HOT and its partners use leverage in their programs. The special-needs population always has staff on hand to help them. The “teens-at-risk” learn responsibility and feel the pleasure of helping the “special-needs children.” A true Win- Win! MPOP’s goal is to continue to grow and expand the summer camp and have two holiday camps during the school year. They want to make it possible to reach out to more “special- needs children” and “teens-at-risk” and provide them with a fun, life changing experience. Hopefully the experiences at camp will result in the “teens-at-risk” being empowered to move forward with their lives and escape what could otherwise be an endless cycle of poverty. In fact, if all goes as planned, many of them will come back as volunteer full counselors and be the staff that will make the expansion of the program possible. As for the “special-needs children,” in a perfect world, the interaction with the “teens at risk” will help them move forward too. They will still be limited by whatever disability they have but camp will teach them that they can be part of a group that goes beyond other “special-needs children.” At worst case, the “special-needs children” will have had a wonderful, fun experience. MPOP’s wish list includes: • $1,541 expenses for 20 meetings during the 2018/2019 school year • $4,625 programming for youth at risk during the school year • $9,251 overnight trip meals, guiding, entrance fees, transportation, etc. • $12,333 Holiday Week Camp for 20 special-needs and 20 youth at risk