The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit is our partner for the region of Migdal Haemek. In Migdal Haemek region the Youth Futures program addresses the needs of 180 children ages 6-13 and 40 youth ages 14-18. The Partnership Director for this region is Ziva Ochayon-Recht and the Program Coordinator is Reut Bendrihem.
9 local Trustees were recruited, all of whom are highly motivated to contribute to the community, and are mature people with experience working with children at risk. Their areas of study include: education, criminology, social work and physical education. Many of these young people are involved in the community in other ways: volunteering in after-school programs, as members of local committees or active in the community center.
The program format calls for enrollment of 180 children in Migdal HaEmek and 40 in the Jezreel Valley. Of these, 23 are new immigrants from the FSU, 18 from Ethiopia and one from the US. Each child is an individual with unique issues. However a number of common issues among the children have come to light: language and scholastic difficulties, difficulties at home with parents and siblings, and economic difficulties.
As part of the project, 140 children participate in enrichment activities of which there are many to choose from in the local community. The Trustees work 30 hours a week, 20 hours of which are devoted to personal meetings with the children, and 10 hours of which are devoted to group and other activities.
Each child currently meets privately with the Trustee once a week, during school hours at a set time. Group activities are held once every two weeks. Part of the Trustees work focuses on integrating those involved in the children’s lives and therefore they meet with the school guidance counselor, psychologists, social workers and the homeroom teachers
20 teenage boys are participating in the Ometz program run by the Ministry of Education. One of the most significant achievements of this effort so far has been a significant drop in truancy very much due to the work of this group’s counselor.