by Leah Samuch Tal, Program Director in Arad
Youth Futures is a Jewish Agency national program for children and youth. The program's main goal is to reduce disparities by providing the participants equal opportunities in education and excellence. The program allows children to develop their abilities through empowerment and encouragement and build self-confidence and capability with the help of adults called "trustees", who work with them, both individually and in groups, in cooperation with the educational and welfare entities.
The 2010-11 school year was the program's fourth year in Arad, with some 160 participants. The year was full of activities, combining education and enjoyment such as opening a library for the program's children, thanks to the generous donation of Bank Hapoalim.
In addition to the books, the library was equipped with a carpet, cushiony seats and chairs, all of which contribute to the pleasant atmosphere; An Ecological Community Garden was established at the Ort high school by middle school children participating in the program, their friends and trustees. The garden is used as a relaxation place during the breaks in the school day; Benches throughout Arad were decorated by the program's children as a contribution to the community in which they live in; An exhibition of characters from famous stories, made by the middle school children of plasticine and beads, was shown at the city library; Creative and studies workshops during the holydays vacation, as well as a visit the Arad fire station, field activities at the Yeruham Lake and a ceremony at an Air Force Base during which new pilots received their certification. We would like to thank the Heiman Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey, without whose generous support, this program would not be able to carry on.