Graduates Day is one of the most important programs of the year.
The annual Graduates Day program at Yemin Orde Youth Village is one of the most important events of the year. Alumni typically return to the Village and meet in groups with teens who are deeply influenced by the graduates and consider them as role models. In this way, graduates "give back" to the Yemin Orde community, as well as network with friends, staff and teachers. At the end of the day, returning alumni receive scholarships for higher education. Indeed, it is a proud day for hundreds of hardworking young leaders.
This year, in the age of the coronavirus, the Village provided a program pivot while still celebrating the achievements of this year's scholarship recipients. 117 graduates gathered via Zoom to express their gratitude for the scholarships and reconnect with friends. In total, 140 graduates received scholarships which honors their hard work and achievements in a meaningful way.
Yemin Orde's Graduates Day scholarship program is supported with the help of funds raised by ImpactIsrael.
On the Zoom program, graduates were introduced to Yemin Orde’s new director, Boaz Schwartz, who provided an update on daily quarantine “pod” life at the Village.
“The daily structure is different and schedules have changed, but the Village still hasn’t stopped working – just like how, you, as graduates should be. The Village is pushing ahead, teaching, being there, providing support to anyone who needs it,” Boaz said.
“You are in command of your own lives. The youth at Yemin Orde look up to you, they see you and how you are pushing forward – ‘Wow, he/she is still going, still learning, even during corona, I can also do this, I can also push ahead,’” he said. “You must realize just how much you are influencing not just your lives and futures, but the lives of the youth who live here and their futures as well.”
Susan Weijel, Deputy Director, Yemin Orde Youth Village, noted supporters around the world looked to Yemin Orde graduates as Israel’s future leaders.
“Our partners in the United States and in England know it’s been hard, but they understand you are the future for Israel and they support us and they believe in you. We need you to be the ones to wear masks, to do social distancing, get the vaccination, you are our strength and for all the team and kids here,” Susan said. “If you need anything, anything at all, our telephones are open. We are here for you.”
Following the official virtual ceremony, graduates chatted stayed online to take the opportunity to "see" each other and reconnect. One graduate, Mekonen noted “I’m so happy to be a graduate of the Village and thank you so much for this.”
Graduates know the Village is with them all the way
Yemin Orde’s Graduate Program is funded through philanthropic support. It provides academic scholarships and financial assistance in times of need. Indeed, the promise that “Yemin Orde will always be there for you” is important to every person who has ever lived at the Village. Additionally, graduates who enter the military or volunteer in Israel’s National Service Program often receive financial and emotional support throughout their service.
Graduates also receive:
- Care Packages: Village staff prepare care packages for their soldiers and attend army ceremonies.
- Graduate House: The Graduate House in the Village is designated for graduates to stay if they have nowhere else to go while on military leave, on Shabbat, or other occasions.
- Financial Aid: The Village provides housing stipends and loans to its graduates.
- Special Events: Yemin Orde is host to special events such as graduate weddings, receptions and class reunions.