Graduates receive scholarships for higher education.

Nearly 100 graduates of Yemin Orde returned to the Village on January 14 to receive scholarships to attend colleges and universities throughout Israel.

Graduate Day is one of the most important and popular days of the year as it reinforces the promise and support of a hopeful future, as well as provides opportunity for former students to give back to Yemin Orde and help their younger counterparts.

Graduates know that Yemin Orde is always there for them

Graduate Day scholarships and financial assistance are supported entirely through philanthropic donations to ImpactIsrael. The assurance that “Yemin Orde is always there for you” is important to every person who has ever lived in the Village. This sense of safety and lifelong support for graduates is one of the unique elements that makes Yemin Orde a model of excellence in Israel.

Graduates first attend a small gathering with the Village’s education leadership, support staff and informal educators who know them so well.

At this meeting, Shmuli Bing, Director, Yemin Orde Youth Village, reflects on the importance of meeting with the Village’s at-risk youth and sharing their success stories. “They see what it means to create realistic goals and dreams and what that looks like. Then they have a reason to get up in the morning and keep trying.”

Shmuli said their success also is very important to the staff who say: “All that work I did paid off. It really did matter, even when things were rough.”

Later, the graduates went to visit youth in their homes for small group discussions. Each graduate shared personal stories of their lives, their experiences at Yemin Orde, their challenges after graduation and their hopes, dreams and life today. These intimate settings provide youth with a comfortable and safe environment to ask the graduate’s questions and share their own fears and dreams.

“The staff gave us everything we needed and taught me everything from my aleph, bet, gimel to ABC. This Village gives everyone opportunity, which is something that shouldn’t be taken for granted,” said Gamdo, who graduated in 1991.

Scholarship Ceremony Provides Inspiration and Hope

The scholarship ceremony was held in Yemin Orde’s gymnasium which filled with students, educators, staff and other members of the Yemin Orde community.

Shmuli first addressed the current high school students: “The big question in life is what glasses will I choose to wear? Glasses that show me I can’t succeed or those that show me that I can, even when things get difficult. This evening, we are here to show you that you can choose those glasses that show yes I can, I am able to do this, even when things get hard.”

Turning to the graduates, Shmuli said: “This day isn’t just about getting a scholarship, it’s more than that. It’s about setting an example, being an inspiration to the youth of Yemin Orde and showing them that they too, can succeed.”

Susan Weijel, Deputy Director, Yemin Orde Youth Village, reflected on the future impact that Yemin Orde’s graduates will have on the future of Israel.

“I’m standing here in the name of our partners, who believe in you and support you because they understand you are the future of this country and Israeli society,” said Susan.

Graduate addresses alumni and Village community

Yemin Orde graduate, Usumain Baraka, also addressed the alumni, educators and youth following the scholarship ceremony. Usumain grew up in Darfur, Sudan and arrived in Israel alone when he was 14 years old. He was granted asylum by the Israeli government and later arrived at Yemin Orde. Today, he advocates to improve the lives of the African community in Israel and studies for his Master’s in Public Policy at IDC-Herzliya.

“To my dear students, being a student at Yemin Orde is a great opportunity and a great privilege, because there is an amazing team here who will do everything for you. A team that will always be there for you, that you can confide in about anything and everything. Take this opportunity.

If you believe you are no less worthy than anyone else and capable of doing everything you put your mind to – this is how your surroundings will see you. Imagine leaving Yemin Orde as a different person; responsible, capable, worthy, wise, knowledgeable, ambitious, and proud of who you are. Be a role model to those who follow.

For the staff, everything you do on a daily basis is hard to fully comprehend. I appreciate each and every one of you. I know how challenging and complex your work is. You should be proud of yourselves.

And for you graduates, dear friends, this evening is not to just accept a scholarship and go home; but to be a role model to the youth and prove to them that if we were able to get into college or university, then they can too.“

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