Alexa Broida

Alexa Broida is from San Diego, CA, and completed her undergraduate studies at UCLA. After the program, Alexa completed her MA in Organizational Science at George Washington University, and currently works at the Union for Reform Judaism.
 
During Alexa's time on the Tikkun Olam program, she volunteered at Ironi Hey high school, which is located in affluent North Tel Aviv and draws its pupils from all over the city, including the Southern neighborhoods and Jaffa. The goal is integration and equal educational opportunities, however the reality is that the pupils from the underserved neighborhoods of South Tel Aviv and Jaffa are far behind their North Tel Aviv peers in academic achievements. Alexa tells of her volunteer experience there:

 
 

    When I arrived at Ironi Hey High School in northern Tel Aviv, I was met by another American woman, who was once inspired, as I am, to take on the challenge of bringing underprivileged students up to the level of their more fortunate peers.  As I nervously waited for the bell to ring, signifying the start of my first class, she filled me in on her years of disappointment, failure, and overall cynicism toward the pupils she was hired to enliven.  Of my six seniors, she warned that their test scores were all so far below average that there was little hope they would even pass my course, that their attendance was sporadic at best, and that their interest in English as a subject was nonexistent.  She stated offhandedly that they would never receive decent jobs in the army or gain admittance to university anyway, and that simply a fifty percent attendance rate at each class meeting would make my work a success.
 

    To my pleasant surprise, all of my students arrived for the first day, and the second, and the third.  I got to know them; we spoke about things that they wanted to speak about, that they were passionate about and that concerned them, the only rule being that it must be in English.  They began to bring their own ideas of ways to practice, their own games, and their own drive, and we developed a mutual respect, admiration, and trust.  Six months later, it is an anomaly if even one is absent.  Moreover, I not only still work with my six original students, but I have tutored and mentored many of their friends.  Their test scores are all above average, in their oral exam interviews each stated that English was their favorite subject in school, and all of them have a goal of what they want to eventually study in university.  By caring about them, believing in them, and giving them confidence in themselves, their education experience has transformed into something inspiring for us all.