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jects and Programs - Education & Welfare

We won't let them fall

Approximately 40 teens in 10th to 12th grades who virtually dropped out of school and abandoned mainstream studies are now
concluding their studies in the Youth Advancement Unit. The majority of them are actually taking their matriculation exams and preparing
for meaningful service in the IDF or the National Service program.
Shoshi Alfasi, who has directed the Youth Advancement Unit in the
Megido Regional Council for 15 years, is able to list many
achievements. A gratifying achievement as far as she's concerned is
to see youths who, in the past, totally abandoned their studies but
entered the Unit's track of studies, returning as adults with families
and professions. A portion of them have already concluded
academic studies, served significant army service, and are involved
and contributing citizens in their community.
"The Unit treats teens who have dropped out from the formal school
system," explains Shoshi, "and supplies them with a scholastic, social
and therapeutic response. From a scholastic standpoint, a personal
program is tailored to each youth in accordance with his or her abili-
ties and level of motivation. The goal is to see them complete their
matriculation exams, through to attaining a full high school
certificate. I'm proud to tell you that our Youth Advancement Unit in
Megido takes first place in all of Israel as regards student
achievements in matriculations."
"Socially, we have a balanced group of peers and we address the
difficulties and empower the strengths of each teen. As for treatment, each teen is accompanied by a personal counselor who, in effect,
accompanies the teen 24 hours a day, touching upon all life spheres."
"But before we get to talking about the scholastic aspect," Shoshi stresses, "our goal is for each teen to show up here in a happy mood,

feeling that he/she is appreciated and being treated with respect,
and that we believe in his or her abilities. In the majority of cases
these are teens who have known disappointment; so we seek to
give them back their self-confidence, feelings of competency and
belief in themselves. We oversee a daily schedule that is identical to
the mainstream school schedule. We supply all of the needed sup-
port and assistance, and we require that each teen meet his or her
commitments. We won't abandon a teen who is struggling to stick
to the program; thus we
create various types of
interventions in order retain
him or her in the framework."
"One of the banners we
raise," Shoshi continues,
"is contributing to the com-
munity. Our students, for
example, tutor Pupils from
Omarim - elementary school
help instruct children in a
horse riding class and other
classes, work in a carpentry workshop, engage in activity with the elderly as well as in an ecological
farm, and more. They serve on our various committees and teams."
"An additional goal," says Shoshi, "is to see our students enter the army or a National Service
program. Indeed, 95% of our teens do enlist in the IDF, many of them serving as volunteers in a Year
of Service program prior to the army."
"The Youth Advancement Unit operates in other municipalities in Israel," explains Shoshi. "Thanks
to the resources placed at our disposal by the Partnership, we open each school day with an activity for improving life skills. The life skills
program includes separate meetings of boys and girls who deal with issues connected with: preventing high-risk behaviors, sexuality,
drug and alcohol abuse, couple relations and more. Also, we conduct workshops and extracurricular classes, and hold instructional ses-
sions for staff. Recently we received the donation of a smart blackboard, which greatly enriches and upgrades our teaching. If only we
would have more of those."

8 Megidon | February 2015
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