Each child that participates in the program has a "mentor" - an adult figure that serves as a role model and guides the child for a continuous period and assists the child in reaching his or her hidden potential.
A new program of the Jewish Agency, "Youth Futures" was launched on October 31st in Beit Shean and in the Beit Shean Valley Regional Council. The goal of the program is to enable children and youth to reach their potential and abilities, while removing educational and community obstacles that might stand in their paths.
The program, supported by the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland, is based on a unique model where a "mentor" guides children between 2nd to 6th grades. The "mentors" are young adults between the ages of 20 -30 and live in the city and region, chosen after completing a meticulous screening process. Each "mentor" guides a number of children for a continuous period, in cooperation with those caring for the children (teacher, social worker, etc.) and together create a "personal suit" that suits their needs, enriches them with educational and social activities. In addition, the "mentor" serves as a mediator between the children's needs and the educational system, social welfare and culture in the region.
The goal is to give the children positive experiences and opportunities, beginning from afternoon activities and developing personal abilities through support, personal assistance, etc. In addition, each child participating in the program will have a budget for "personal empowerment" in which a child will be able to develop his or her talents which were previously identified in the personal mapping process.
The ceremony included both Mayors, Danny Tamari and Jacky Levi, Leah Golan, Director General of the Israel Department at the Jewish Agency, and senior representatives from the Jewish Community of Cleveland.
"I would like to thank the Jewish Agency, Cleveland and Leah Golan from the Israel Department - this is one of the most important programs in the city and region, finally reaching the 'real thing' by educating and empowering the future generation," said Mayor Jacky Levi in his greetings.
The ceremony was closed by the mentors singing "yahad lev el lev niftah ve'nire et ha'or she'bashamayim" - together we will open our hearts and see the light in the horizon.
200 children from elementary schools in the city of Beit Shean and the Beit Shean Valley Regional Council participate in the program. The program operates in cooperation with the Cleveland community - the partnering community of the Beit Shean Region through Partnership 2000 of the Jewish Agency.
Beit Shean Region is one of the nine locations in Israel where Youth Futures operates as a pilot program. A total of 3,000 children and youth from all over Israel participate in the program, where the goal is to reach 50,000 in upcoming years. At the programs' peak, the total cost of the program will be 60 million dollars per year. The program will be funded by the Jewish Agency in cooperation with Jewish donors from abroad and Israeli philanthropists.