Yemin Orde’s annual Graduates Day ceremony is one of the most important events at the Village, when alumni return to receive academic scholarships for higher learning.
Recently, 92 graduates returned to Yemin Orde for this ceremony. Prior to the program, graduates meet with current students to discuss their lives since leaving the Village and share the benefit of their “real life” experiences. Graduates are role models for the younger generation of youth and give hope and encouragement for a successful and productive life after high school and military service.
Graduates Tell Their Stories
During a discussion with a group of Ethiopian-Israeli boys, graduate “T” shared stories of his experiences in a gap-year leadership program (Mechina), where he learned leadership skills and discovered a great deal about his own identity.
“Take the time to think, and don’t give up till you know where you are heading,” said “T”, as he spoke to a group of teenage boys.
He reiterated the importance of taking advantage of all of the opportunities offered by the Village. “Extra-curricular activities teach us about self-discipline. Some of my friends missed out on these chances and didn’t seize the occasion to study, learn and grow. Don’t be like them,” said “T”.
Another graduate, “G” , who is from Ukraine, came to Israel alone through the Na’ale education program. Sitting with a group of teenage girls, “G” recalled her first years at the Village with a great deal of gratitude.
“I gave my Informal Educator such a hard time that I apologized to her later, She then kindly invited me to her wedding several years after my graduation.”
“G” is now studying for a degree in architecture, a field that first interested her after a visit to the United States with Yemin Orde’s youth choir. Her mother and sister later joined her in Israel with “nothing but the clothes on their backs. We relied on the kindness of the Village staff to help us rent an apartment and get furnishings without which they would have had to return to the Ukraine.”
With Our Graduates All the Way
During the ceremony, Shmuli Bing, Director, Yemin Orde, told the audience of youth and family members, to remember the stories of hope shared by the graduates.
“Many of the alumni seated before you are your role models. They had to make compromises to attain their goals,” Shmuli said. “Remember, it isn’t always easy to give up on the past in order to achieve something bigger and better.”
Susan Weijel, Deputy Director, Yemin Orde Youth Village, also commended the graduates, many of whom faced loss and daily challenges to reach the place they are seated today.
“It is an honor to know you all, to have been close to you when you were children growing up here. Your determination to live and learn in the Village is the key to being parents who will raise your children with you at home,” Susan said. “Yemin Orde’s staff believes in you and your ability to further social justice along with our partners overseas who stay connected and are part of the work done here.”
Yemin Orde’s Graduate Day program is funded through the generosity of our donors. Other elements of the Village’s graduate program include care packages for graduate-soldiers serving in the military; mentoring program for younger graduates; networking and referral opportunities; Graduate House for graduates on military leave or for short-term stays; special events, and more.
Click here to read graduate stories of success.
Click here to read a comprehensive overview of Yemin Orde’s graduate program.