By fostering a positive, supportive environment for children to grow, the Youth Futures mentorship program is just one of the ways the Jewish Agency for Israel is helping the next generation learn by example.
One of Israel's leading positive-intervention programs, The Jewish Agency's Youth Futures program partners teen mentors with at-risk children for a long-term period of cooperative learning and growth. Mentors work with up to 16 children, focusing on personal, familial, social, and educational areas in an effort to give these kids the tools to navigate challenges and celebrate achievements in a constructive way.
Youth Futures not only gives children tools to succeed and empowers teens to serve as role models, it also helps families to flourish. The program emphasizes full parental involvement and partnership—parents in participating communities receive help and guidance to access social services, manage their budgets, be more effective caregivers, and build emotionally supportive environments for their families.
"When I was little, I was scared of people and afraid to speak to them. It made me unhappy. I really wanted more friends. Four years ago, I met my first Youth Futures mentor. I could tell I could talk to her. We talked about ways I could deal with my fear. Slowly I changed. She and my new mentor, Tzila, helped me understand my feelings. People told me I could be a leader, and now I am one."
— Liron Vaisehon, a Youth Futures participant.
Even in regions fraught with instability, Youth Futures mentors manage to help their charges by organizing day trips that encourage fun and play.
During Israel’s crisis with Gaza in the summer of 2014, Youth Futures mentors were faced with countless challenges—but the lessons they learned are timeless.
Giving children the chance to just be kids, Youth Futures mentors make it a priority to give their mentees a break from their normal routines.
Hadar Hollander, a little girl living two kilometers from Gaza City, talks about life in an attack zone. Youth Futures makes it its mission to help kids like her.