Tag Archives: Bridging the Gap

Back to Reality

     After two amazing weeks in Nazareth, my daughter and I returned to Delaware.  It was difficult to readjust-not just because of the jetlag but also because of the distance that separates us from people we love across the world. 


     Apart from being received back into “our” neighbor like long lost daughters, I had the privilege to go back and give time and energy to Bridging the Gap–the program that we started 10 years ago for returning Arabic families and their kids.  BTG was born to help kids bridge the gap from the West to the East.  All of their studies are taught in English with Hebrew and Arabic as foreign languages.  Many students also take advantage of the opportunity to receive a US diploma from Sycamore Tree School in California. 


     Our ten year reunion a few weeks ago, reminded me of the impact  we were able to make in the lives of many students a world away.  Parents told me that if not for BTG they may not have stayed on to make a life there.  It was the academic and social bridge that BTG provided that helped the students succeed and gave the parents hope and encouragement. 


     Now back in the States, I recommit myself to continue to help build the program there into the next decade.  In doing so, I am more committed to not only help my children run their race through the high school years and finish well but also to help other kids in their educational journey .


     I am keenly aware that so many students are out of touch with their own skills and strengths.  Many times we struggle with this as adults.  Yet we want our kids to do their best when they may not even know what that is.  So as I think of the families and students that we serve at Academic Connections, I want to help kids not only excel academically but also encourage them to come to a greater understanding of the potential and gifts; the strengths and the talents that lie within them. 


     It certainly is a process and as life-long learners we are always dicovering new things about ourselves and the world around us.  I’m looking forward to playing even a small part in that discovery knowing that what is unearthed will be well worth the effort.


PS I will ever be grateful to Bishop Riah Abu el Assal and his son, Hanna, the principal of Bishop Riah Educational Campus for helping birth and support BTG through the years and to Zinat Laham and the dedicated staff for taking it forward.  To learn more about the school and the BTG program visit: www.brecn.org

Nazareth Revisited

It’s off to Israel in a few hours.  My daughter and I will fly back to celebrate the graduation of Bridging the Gap Class of 2008.  The program is now in its tenth year.  Did I think this day would come all those years ago when it was just me, ten students and a box of books? Now many of these students have families of their own, have gone on to university or are working and I am so blessed that our paths and lives crossed in the town of Nazareth, that we called home for 12 years.

It reminds me of the potential and the possibility that exist when we step out and try something new.  It takes courage, tenacity and trust.  Even if we’re shaking in our boots and are not sure of all that lies ahead, there is something so thrilling about taking a leap of faith!    We anticipate many scary things that never happen and we usually underestimate all the incredible things that could and do happen.  And so it is with BTG and my beloved students who made my last five years in Nazareth the very best they could be.  Congrats to the Class of ’08!!  To learn more about Bridging the Gap-the program for Arab American and expatriate students located in the Bishop Riah High School in Nazareth, Israel, visit