Graduates of high schools in the periphery and development towns are hindered academically, economically and culturally from accessing the academic preparatory programs and other selective continuing education programs available in Israel.
Creation of a culturally adapted post high school framework that uses a socially sensitive language with which to communicate with youth or parents. Specifically, the Mechina program entails:
- Value-based Learning: The core study program in the Mechina stresses Jewish studies, Zionism, the history of the Jewish people and the modern State of Israel, and leadership. Learning is all conducted in small groups, with a great deal of individual attention.
- Empowerment through Volunteering: Our students have grown up in environments where the concepts of ‘taking’ and ‘getting’ from society, the government, and others are the norm. To teach the value of giving, all our students are required to volunteer in the community, and this is a core value of the Mechina.
- Learning Through Experience: Our students have usually traveled little out of their home towns. We therefore include in the program short biweekly educational field trips, several overnight hikes, visits to museums, theater, and engaging in sporting challenges such as rappelling, rafting, rock climbing, etc. We hire professionals to teach orienteering, navigation, camouflage, and wilderness survival skills, etc
In addition to the general considerations above, the Mechina Program of the Northern Negev accepts a number of students who come from particularly difficult family situations, and provides them with a living allowance in addition to a full scholarship.
Creation of a basic Scholarship Fund of $3,000 per student x 50 students per year = $150,000.
We are also in need of special subsidies for 20 students who have extenuating financial/social needs for the 2006-2007 academic year, to cover extra expenses, such as clothing and transport, at $1,500 per student x 20 = $30,000
Total Needed: $180,000
Empowerment through Volunteering
Our students have grown up in environments where the concepts of ‘taking’ and ‘getting’ from society, the government, and others are the norm. Their families and communities conveyed a message of their powerlessness and lack of control, a mindset that leads to low self-image, lack of initiative and leadership.
The Mechina program seeks to cultivate a sense of self-pride and personal responsibility in its students.
We have, therefore, developed a program entitled Empowerment through Volunteering that builds upon two key elements: on-going regular activities and special projects.
Regular volunteering commitments include:
- Civil Guard
- School hot lunch program
- "Big Brother" buddy program with children from dysfunctional families
Special volunteering projects include:
- "Table to Table" food rescue activities
- Helping the elderly and immigrants in financial distress to clean and repair their homes, move apartments, etc.
In addition, our students are responsible for waiting on tables, basic cleaning and maintenance of the Mechina, tasks most of them never did in their own homes, and so this also is part of the “giving to others” message we inculcate.