CWRU Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations Representatives Visit Israel for Youth Futures Program
In March, the Jewish Community Federation (JCF) of Cleveland and the Jewish Agency for Israel invited Pat Heilbron and Gerald Ford to visit Israel and work with staff of the Youth Futures program. Pat Heilbron is Director of the Treu-Mart Youth Development Fellowship Program at the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations in Cleveland, and Gerald Ford is an alumnus of the Fellowship Program, currently employed by Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry.
The Mandel Center team worked with mentors in Beit Shean
The Youth Futures program aims to provide at-risk youth with an equal opportunity to develop their unique skills, both academic and social, and to break out of the cycle of poverty and underachievement. As of March 2008, the program covers 5,800 children and 370 trustees in 28 localities, predominately in the Negev and Galilee.
The Mandel Center team worked closely with staff from the Jewish Agency for Israel and the JCF, including Nir Lahav, Director of the Youth Futures Division; Mandel Leadership Institute graduate Yehuda Katz, Assistant Director Oren Baratz; Director of International Operations for the JCF; and Leah Epstein, International Operations Associate for the JCF.
While they spent the majority of their time working with the Youth Futures program in Beit Shean, providing front line youth workers with research, information and strategies for practical application, Heilbron and Ford also spent time conducting workshops. Those sessions included a full-day seminar with the coordinators of all of the Youth Futures sites across the country; a training session for mentors from the Tzahar region; and a meeting with Brigadier General Eli Shermeister, the head of the Israeli Army's Education Corps. The final session was a one-day regional seminar which focused on working with families to support youth. The seminar was attended by heads of municipalities, directors of education and social welfare departments, school principals and teachers, counselors, social workers, directors of community centers and the Youth Futures mentors.
The Youth Futures program in Beit Shean City and Regional Council has a strong partnership with the JCF, the Jewish Agency and the local municipalities. The joint Advisory Committee is very involved in the planning and implementation of Youth Futures in the region. The Youth Futures program in Beit Shean and the Beit Shean Valley Regional Council addresses the needs of 200 children ages 6-13. Of these children, there are 20 new immigrants from the Former Soviet Union and 10 from Ethiopia.
“The country was beautiful but what I will most treasure is the people we met who welcomed us not only into their workplaces, but into their homes” said Heilbron.
To read more about the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland click here
To read more about the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations click here