On June 17, 2008 the NII approved an allocation of 3 million NIS per year for the Youth Futures program, and has become the newest Israeli partner in the program.
This generous budget will enable us to put the next stage of Youth Futures into action: creating an educational flow, which means that the children participating in the program will be treated from elementary school age until graduation from high school.
The goals are to continue working with the children, as they grow into adolescence, on their self esteem, social behavior and academic achievements - however, during this stage, the focus will be on ensuring that the participants complete high school and the matriculation exams.
This stage will also include two new components: encouraging development of employment skills in the teenagers, and developing them as young leaders in their communities.
We estimate a total of 600 teenagers participating in the program by September 2008, approximately 1,100 teenagers by September 2009, and approximately 1,650 teenagers by September 2010.
The number of Trustees working with teenagers will grow accordingly, and they will undergo training adapted to the unique needs of working with teenagers at-risk. We estimate that an average of 4 Trustees will work with teens in each Youth Futures locality by September 2010.
This stage will be evaluated as a part of the Youth Futures program by the Ben Gurion University, with emphasis on measuring acquirement of employment skills, changing perception of future employment, etc.
The National Insurance Institute of Israel has not only ensured the future of our program's youth, but has also established a landmark in the cooperation between the Jewish Agency and government organizations in Israel. The NII will also send a representative to the Youth Futures Steering Committee, to be involved in the policy planning and decision making processes.
We are delighted to have their cooperation and experience.