Tel Aviv, January 3th 2010
To: Youth Aliyah friends’ Committees in Europe
Subject: Update about Youth Aliyah children at the beginning of the New Year 2010
Dear friends and supporters in Europe,
First of all, let me extend to each and one of you our best wishes for a happy new year 2010. We hope this New Year will strengthen our contacts and you’ll be able to realize your objectives for the on-going support for the children in Youth Aliyah in Israel. I would also like to express the strong wish to meet all of you in Israel during this coming New Year.
The new policy in stored nowadays is focusing very much on the scholastic achievements of all children integrated in Youth Aliyah villages. Important financial resources had been allocated to the villages by the Youth Aliyah Administration in the ministry in order to organize efficiently these after school learning programs. We do hope this new policy will contribute to improve the school results of Youth Aliyah children and their success rate in the matriculation exams. We have in mind to organize again special camps during vacations of Pesach and during summer time and use these periods for the same objectives.
As we informed you in the last newsletter, 57 refugees (unaccompanied minors), were integrated since last year in five youth villages: Cadouri, Ayanot, Ben Shemen, Yemin Ord and Havat Hanoar Hazioni. This is done on a humanitarian basis and until now with rather successful results.
Hodayot youth village opened last year a new track of “police academy”, after Canot and Nir Haemek. This very successful program in collaboration with Israeli Police is now operating in three youth villages. The director general of the Ministry of Police is a graduate of Nir Haemek and very keen to push this program further. The idea is to transform one youth village into a real police academy for adolescent youth. This could be a prestigious educational program that could give our Youth Aliyah children a good citizenship education.
New projects of the Youth Aliyah Art Unit. A project of presenting Jewish Hassidic music to children in youth villages has started this year. The first feed backs from villages where it has been performed like Alonei Izhak and Tom, are very enthusiastic.
This year we intend to improve the dental services given to children in the youth villages. All Youth Aliyah children are receiving a dental care insurance paid by the Ministry of Education. With the help of a senior dentist, Dr. Roberto Fechtelholtz, consulting us as a volunteer, we are preparing new projects that should result in a net improvement of the Dental services to Youth Aliyah children. Kiriat Yeharim was the first to start a major operation where they made a full in depth screening of all children to evaluate their dental situation. Nowadays, every week 10-12 children are being treated systematically and 19 children had already started orthodontic treatment.
We decided to set an objective of Improving the quality of life and environmental-friendly ecology of youth villages. Therefore, we started a competition among the villages to allocate them ‘stars of beauty”, like in hotels…This project is centralized by the council for beautiful Israel and was operated until now only in Hospitals and industrial areas. Nowadays, youth villages are being examined by people sent by this NGO organization and at the end of the year we’ll have a 3, 4 or five star accreditation to youth villages. This in order to give motivation to all of them to get the five stars which means the Youth Aliyah children would get better and improved services. In the same line, Ministry of Education has allocated special funds to villages where there were still remainders of Asbestos roofs or buildings. We hope this will free completely our villages from these kinds of materials which are not environmental friendly.
Two youth villages: Neve Hadassa and Kedma were chosen to be part of a new project initiated by us in collaboration with “Ashalim” association. The idea is to involve staff members interfering in the various spheres of the children’s life in the village in order to create a healthy environment. It means to involve the nurse, the sports educators, the teachers, the kook and the group educators in order to foster healthy behavior of the children.
New efforts to prepare the graduates for real life and preparing a “safety net” for those who don’t have any family support and need to have the possibility to stay in the village for a certain period.
Special funds had been allocated by the Youth Aliyah Administration in the Ministry of Education in order to hire a specific educator and give him/her the responsibility to follow up and be in contact with those graduates who needs it.
New village directors are being mentored and supported by veteran youth village directors. A new model is being operated this year. Veteran youth village directors like Nina Glassman, David Erlbaum, Saul Elbaz, Hillel Hellman, Hezi Yosef and Pini Cohen are mentoring nnew directors after having been trained to do it by specialized trainers. Both parties are expressing high satisfaction from this new project.
Pava Raibstein, the dynamic director of the German committee initiated several innovative projects that I find important to share with all of you. One is sending young adults (21-25) from Germany who are volunteering one year working in Youth Aliyah villages. This year we have five volunteers working in Havat Hanoar Hazioni, Kanot and Kfar Silver. Second very important imitative is the construction of sports courts in Kanot and Hodayot youth villages donated by the German Olympic committee. The development of sports activities in Youth Aliyah villages has largely increased lately and improving the sports facilities is today a priority item for us.
A group of 20 senior residential educators and policy makers from Fice-Romania visited our Youth Aliyah network. They were very impressed and visited Hodayot, Havat Hanoar, Kfar Yarok, Shfeya, hisspin and an Arab youth village near Carmiel. They attended, together with the Romanian Ambassador to Israel, the Hanukkah celebration in Neve Hadassa.
Hope you’ll find interest in these information. Again, we are looking forward seeing each one of you in Israel this year and are waiting for you to inform us about your programs.
Dr. Emmanuel Grupper
Director of the residential & guidance department and coordinator of friend’s committees