Helping others during difficult times is a blessing.
Young Men Making A Difference
Participants of the Village Way Educational Initiatives's gap-year pre-military leadership program (Mechina in Hebrew) are delivering meals and medicine to seniors in the community of Hatzor, where the Mechina is located. During the coronavirus crisis, these young men have volunteered to return and make a positive and important impact on the lives of older residents who cannot leave their homes in order to shop for food and other items.
An article in the Hebrew language newspaper, News of the Galilee, reports that 25 young men have returned to the Mechina home and are working in three different areas, divided into three completely separate groups in order to comply with the necessary hygiene requirements and to prevent the spread of infection.
Mechina director, Eyal Eldar, said the participants appreciated the opportunity to help others in need and to understand that they could contribute to society.
"Recently, the Mechina participants talked about their experiences of volunteering during this crisis," said Eldar. "There was a great deal of excitement about the giving, the interaction with the older population, and especially their passionate gratitude. This whole process was forced upon us, but by understanding the need, what is right to do now and giving our all for this cause, has created a tremendous educational process for the participants."
Young Women Making a Difference
Participants of the Village Way's women's Mechina, called IsraElite, have also returned to their homebase community of Migdal HaEmek to volunteer and help others in conjunction with the local government and welfare services.
The young women are delivering food and medicine to home-bound elderly and others who cannot leave their home. There are also two participants who are volunteering in the municipal call center, and two others who are volunteering answering phones for the local welfare services (one is an Amharic speaker, the other is a Russian speaker).
IsraElite participants, who are from the margins of Israeli society, are so proud to be able to be making a positive impact during this difficult time, and it is giving them a sense of purpose.
About the Men's and Women's Mechinot
The Men's Mechina was established in 2000 to empower young Israeli men from immigrant backgrounds with the skills necessary to excel in their mandatory military service. The program also helps ensure that these young men can thrive in their civilian life that follows.
The rigorous 10-month program also strengthens academic and leadership skills, physical fitness and endurance training, and provides classes in life skills such as financial management and personal empowerment.
The Women's Mechina, known as IsraElite, was established in 2013 to empower young women from the margins of Israeli society with the tools necessary to rise to leadership positions in their national service and beyond.
The 10-month comprehensive leadership program is specifically designed for young women who are immigrants or children of immigrants, mainly from Ethiopia or the former Soviet Union. Participants struggle with questions of identity, economic distress and complex family situations. Most are unaware that their upcoming mandatory service can be a time to develop leadership skills and launch their futures as successful members of society.