Village Way communities remain a safe haven during Israel's third lockdown.
Yemin Orde Youth Village and our Village Way partner communities remain a safe haven for at-risk youth despite Israel’s third national lockdown due to rising coronavirus cases.
Education officials granted permission for youth villages and therapeutic residential communities to operate so their populations of vulnerable youth can continue to reside in a safe environment, instead of returning to challenging and, possibly, dangerous home situations.
Youth continue to study in their home “pods” in the villages for upcoming matriculation exams. These exams assess students knowledge of subject matters and scores and can determine acceptance into elite military units, higher education and future employment after graduation.
Recently, Yemin Orde and Village Way educators and staff have received coronavirus vaccines. This process will continue in the coming weeks, as well.
“This is great news for everyone and we are all looking to a hopeful and productive Spring and Summer,” said Susan Weijel, Deputy Director, Yemin Orde Youth Village and Village Way Educational Initiatives. “But for now, we are making sure that our youth know that they are “visible” to us – whether they are living with their families or in a youth village. We recognize the significant challenges they are facing and are working to support them through this time, even - especially - when we are physically apart.”
During Israel’s national lockdowns, Yemin Orde and Village Way educators have provided continuous learning and emotional support to youth isolated and quarantined with their families in their homes. Staff and educators are creating creative ways to maintain the important “community of meaning” environment so youth can remain engaged and productive during the lockdown. For example, at Yemin Orde, staff organized a “Masked Singer” contest, Master Chef classes and outdoor activities.
Yemin Orde graduates also continue to receive emotional support during the lockdown as Village staff remain in touch with hundreds of alumni. Instead of the annual Graduates Day program at the Village, 117 graduates gathered via Zoom to reconnect and receive updates about the Village. When Israel’s lockdown is over, graduates will return to the Village in small groups to meet with youth who view these older counterparts as role models, as well as to receive scholarship certificates. This year, a total of 140 graduates will receive scholarships for higher learning.
Public high schools and youth villages that partner with Village Way Educational Initiatives remain open in order to meet the acute emotional and educational needs of their at-risk youth population. The well-being of Israel’s fragile youth is especially worrisome during the pandemic as reports indicate heightened tensions in already dysfunctional homes as well as the absence of reliable role models.
In 2020, ImpactIsrael raised $350,000 in an emergency campaign that funded Covid-19 relief needs such as food vouchers and crisis stipends for Yemin Orde and Mechina graduates and families in dire need.
Read more about how Covid-19 has impacted our Village Way family.