Youth Centers

The majority of Ethiopian-Israeli youth live in low-income neighborhoods with limited access to extra-curricular activities and positive role models. Temptation and danger exist on Israel’s streets luring good-hearted teens to non-constructive, anti-social and in some instances, criminal behavior.  Many parents are unable to help their children contend with the challenges posed in the neighborhood and lack the disposable income for enrichment frameworks.  

FIDEL has been successfully operating Youth Centers throughout the past 14 years providing personal, educational and social enrichment. They operate five nights a week and during all school vacations. Professional youth leaders serve as role models and provide guidance and emotional support.  FIDEL sustains a team of volunteers including citizens, IDF service-year soldiers, post high school and overseas interns.

Youth center impact paves the way towards a brighter future including social mobility. The centers address the critical need for a framework that offers counselling and support from positive role models boosting self-confidence, raising aspirations and encouraging secondary education and career aspirations.

Alumni consistently register for significant roles in the IDF and National Service.  Fidel’s work with youth is recognized and lauded by both local municipalities and police officials. Fidel’s intervention ensures that youth at risk find a remedial path and in cases where teens have been apprehended, staff often succeed in having the police file dismissed.

Professional youth workers serve as role models and provide personal guidance and emotional support.  FIDEL staff are lauded by Israel Police for their intervention ensuring that youth at risk find a remedial path. In cases where the youth have been apprehended, staff often succeed in having the police file (jeopardizing future IDF service) dismissed. Volunteers operate workshops, provide one-on-one mentor-ship and nurture relationships with the teens.  They include retired citizens, IDF service-year soldiers, post high school volunteers and intern volunteers from overseas.

Fidel youth centers operate in Lod, Ramla, Ashkelon, Sderot, Be’er Sheva, Petach Tikva and Afula.

Objectives:

Empowerment

  • Encouraging youth to participate in enrichment programs and youth movements offered within the municipality, together with non-Ethiopian youth.
  • Broadening the horizons of the youth and raising their ambitions while helping them develop career aspirations.
  • Improving the rate of conscription and enrollment in important divisions of the IDF and national service

Prevention

  • Safe exposure to both the dangers and negative forces within their community and society at large (substance abuse, peer pressure, improper sexual behavior, crime)
  • Granting a skill set for coping with, and resisting negative temptations while preserving the youth’s personal confidence
  • Creating a safe environment that is accepting, encourages dialogue, and allows the youth to share dilemmas openly with their peers and the center’s youth workers

 

Youth Centers Goals

  • Individual Level: Strengthening identity and a sense of belonging within Israeli society – fortifying a solid sense of identity including pride in Beta Israel heritage
  • Group Level: Nurturing a supportive social environment with positive group dynamics as a base for support and growth
  • Community Level: Fostering a sense of belonging with an ability to impact the larger community and effect change within it
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