During my 2011-2012 fellowship with JDC, I worked with JDC-Israel's department for youth at risk, Ashalim. Read below to find out more about the incredible work they do.Of the 2.5 million children and youth growing up in Israel, an estimated 350,000 children and youth in Israel are considered to be "at-risk."
The land of Israel is one of rich history, innovation, and fortitude however a myriad of problems exist throughout, one of which the plight of their neediest children. These are youth ranging from early childhood and up through eighteen whose "welfare is currently at risk or whose development is threatened." Their "physical well-being, sense of belonging to family, acquisition of education and skills, emotional security, and social integration" is threatened. (JDC-Ashalim Website)
JDC-Ashalim, the largest department under JDC-Israel does something about it. Through a of myriad programs and initiatives, JDC-Ashalim seeks to support and protect at-risk youth through alternative learning spaces, youth entrepreneurship, community-building, and formal educational initiatives. Through more than 250 innovative program, JDC-Ashalim "engages in preventive work, in developing treatment interventions, as well as in providing solutions to protect and rehabilitate children" and then documents and disseminates valuable field knowledge through the Mayda Center: The Ashalim Center for Knowledge and Learning.
On my fellowship, I served many roles. I worked with Maleh (מל”א), which is the Hebrew acronym for “Alternative Learning Space” – Merhav Limudi Acher, I worked at two "Moadoniyot" – Treatment Afterschool Centers for Youth At Risk -- in Jerusalem and piloted bringing a dynamic art program to them as well as tutored children in math and English Language Learning, and I worked with Ashalim, the Ministry of Education, and the Museum of Art of Haifa to write a curriculum in art and emotional education that is to eventually be distributed to different institutions throughout Israel.
Here I will be sharing my experiences working with these incredible initiatives, innovators, educators, and of course, the children.