FIDF Western Region’s From L.A. With Love Program- Summer 2015
FIDF’s From L.A. With Love Program sponsored 31 teenagers, most of whom lost a sibling or parent during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge, to spend an unforgettable week vacation in Los Angeles. Additionally, 7 active-duty soldiers, who had experienced similar tragedies, and two active-duty commanders from the IDF Department of Wounded and Casualties accompanied the children to help provide them with comfort and guidance. As part of FIDF’s LEGACY Program, the From L.A. With Love Program remains dedicated to its goal of supporting individuals who have suffered the devastating losses of loved-ones fallen during their IDF military service. This incredible program, spearheaded by FIDF Western Region Board Member Eli Tene and his wife Dafna, and FIDF Western Region supporters Dalit and Elan Argil, allowed these young teenagers to bond during this weeklong trip. The From L.A. With Love participants shared stories of loss, healed together, and formed lifelong friendships.
“After losing my brother in the First Lebanon War when I was 15, I understand the importance of showing these teenagers that they are cared for and that the sacrifices made by their families do not go unnoticed,” said Elan Argil. “In our own special way, we, as a community, were able to show these teenagers that we care deeply about them. We were able to make a real difference in their lives and I am incredibly proud to have been a part of this program that is so near and dear to my heart.”
The FIDF From L.A. With Love group experienced a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, visiting iconic L.A. landmarks including Universal Studios in Hollywood, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and Madame Tussauds wax museum, touring Beverly Hills to see the homes of their favorite celebrities, relaxing at Malibu beach, and enjoying events hosted by local FIDF supporters. At his farewell party, Tene remarked, “Hosting these amazing Israeli teens has been an honor and an inspiration. Dafna and I are touched to see the invaluable impact this program has had on these 40 bereaved teenagers and soldiers. “
By the end of the program, these bereaved, resilient teenagers felt that their loved ones would never be forgotten, and they were re-assured that there are people from across the world who care deeply for them.