Jessica Horst

This summer, I interned with Save a Child’s Heart, Israel’s largest international humanitarian organization and recent recipient of the UN Population Award. After visiting the children’s home on Hasbara Fellowships, I truly felt inspired by the organization’s dedication to providing medical care to children regardless of their race, religion, gender, nationality or financial status. Knowing I had to get involved during my stay in Israel, I joined the intern team, which has exceeded all of my expectations.

To me, the most impressive aspect of Save a Child’s Heart is their transparent operations, proving their commitment to serving children around the world. A model to other organizations, Save a Child’s Heart not only publishes their financial statements but also lists their sponsors and supporters. On their website you can also find news about the organization, stories about children living in Israel and touching blogs from volunteers. Just from browsing the site, Save a Child’s Heart exemplifies nonprofit transparency.

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Save a Child’s Heart is also responsible for a lot the average person doesn’t know about, such as hosting weekly Palestinian clinics in Holon for children living in Gaza and the West Bank, training the first pediatric heart surgeons in multiple partnered African countries, and yearly outreach clinics around the world. With active social media accounts, some children and families even reach out to Save a Child’s Heart online. Utilizing all networks, Save a Child’s Heart has saved the lives of over 4,800 children.

Beyond the nonprofit background, my favorite part of my internship was working at the Save a Child’s Heart children’s home. Each morning, I walked into the house and was greeted like family. When computer work became tiring, all I had to do was simply go out to the family room for playtime. Revived by each break with the kids, I would say my work environment was more than ideal.

In June, a one-year-old name Pierre from Senegal arrived at Save a Child’s Heart to receive heart surgery to repair his congenital heart disease. Diagnosed at 3-months-old, the family’s life has revolved around making Pierre healthy. To come to Israel, Pierre and his mother had to leave his two older sister with their law student father until they are able to return after a successful heart surgery. At first, anytime I went up to Pierre, he would fuss and reach for his mom. The next week, I could sit and play with Pierre, but he didn’t want to sit near or be held. Depending on the morning though, Pierre would shoo me in the cutest way. On the third week, only a few days before I left Israel, I walked into the SACH house and when I said “good morning” to Pierre, he reached up for me to pick him up.  While this may seem like a small feat, I was overwhelmed with joy knowing that I had become a familiar face in the house. That morning, I spent the first two hours with Pierre in the yard, helping him walk around and playing in the playhouse. At one point, I was way in over my head with two toddlers and had to admire the abilities of all the mothers. Going back to the office rejuvenated when the morning visitors arrived, I was truly motivated to work.

What truly sets Save a Child’s Heart above other internships is actively engaging in the organization’s mission. Playing with children, connecting with their mothers and nurses, and celebrating life, are what makes being a part of the Save a Child’s Heart family so meaningful.

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To learn how you can become an intern with SACH like Jess, check out our intern page

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