Across Israel, Youth Futures mentors continued to ensure 4,000+ at-risk children and their families received special emotional support and guidance throughout COVID.
For at-risk children in Israel and their families,
the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns introduced new and unique hardships. Fortunately, our Youth Futures program continued to provide these young Israelis with devoted mentors who work with them long term to set them on successful paths.
Kamil, the Director of the Youth Futures program in Be’er Sheva, the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel, learned to embrace the challenges that came with COVID.
“I’m blessed to have this job, to be able to be there for families and these promising young people,” explained Kamil.
After losing her job due to COVID, Orly* was really struggling. Orly is a single mother of three dealing with debt from her abusive ex-husband, and with all three kids home all day and not getting hot meals through the lunch program because schools were closed, she found herself unable to put food on the table – and was too ashamed to ask for help.
Luckily, Orly’s youngest son, Menashe* is part of Youth Futures, and his mentor, Tamar*, remained in constant contact with him, even when lockdowns were going on. When Tamar felt something was off, she quickly took action, making arrangements so Orly and her kids got the groceries they needed.
“I do not know how I would have survived without you…Thanks to you, I have learned that it is okay to ask for help so that I can take care of myself and my children,” stated Orly.
Another Youth Futures mentor, Maya*, has been working with Yael*, a ninth-grader from Afula, who suffered from anxiety, low self-esteem and agoraphobia, for two years now.
“When we were first paired together, Yael and I set her goals for the future; one of them was to strengthen Yael’s self-confidence. And as time passed, Yael’s trust in me grew and she opened up, allowing me to better equip her with the tools she was lacking in everyday life,” said Maya.
During the pandemic, Maya continued to stay in touch with Yael daily and took her on excursions, within COVID health and safety guidelines. And when the family’s computer stopped working, Youth Futures supplied Yael with a new one, so she could continue her schoolwork online.
* Names have been changed to protect privacy