Lod is one of the seven mixed Jewish-Arab cities in Israel, located about 15 km Southeast of Tel Aviv. In its diversity, Lod is a microcosm of Israel. While it has many challenges it has also seen a remarkable surge of activism over the last few years which is starting to create real change in the city. Community leaders and activists have created community centres, youth programming, and other initiatives to support residents with the help of many volunteers, including students and young adults. There is real need in Lod and there are also social change initiatives which are a great platform for Yahel Fellows.
SAMPLE VOLUNTEER PLACEMENTS IN LOD
The Abraham Initiatives
The Abraham Initiatives is a non-profit organization that aims to promote equality for Arab citizens of Israel. Their projects focus primarily on education for a shared society, leadership development, community-police relations, and minority mainstreaming in the media. Yahel volunteers work in social media, marketing, research, resource development, grant writing. and donor relations.
"Hatachana" - Lod Young Adult Center
The new young adult center in Lod is a hub for young people aimed at providing tools, connecting and serving the young population of Lod. The center offers vocational training and career counseling, engages young adults in social action in Lod, organizes cultural and social events, assists young parents, provides guidance and courses for college, and more.
Volunteer Placements at Schools
The Yahel Social Change Program works closely with various schools in Lod. Yahel participants volunteering at schools assist students with their work during English classes. The work usually takes place with small groups of students outside the classroom, using content material assigned by the teachers. Volunteers are also encouraged to initiate an annual project related to the work they are doing with the students throughout the year. Sample placements in 2019-2020 may include:
Dar El Hikma – Arab high school
Tomashin- Arab middle and high school
ORT- Arab high school
Rambam- Religious Jewish elementary school
Matnas Chicago is a community center located in Ramat Eshkol – one of the most socially challenging neighborhoods in Lod and home largely to members of the Arab and Ethiopian communities. The Matnas, which was closed for many years due to financial difficulties and municipal corruption, reopened several years ago and now caters to the Arab and Ethiopian populations in the neighborhood. Yahel volunteers will assist Matnas staff facilitating various chugim (recreational activities) such as: carpentry, soccer, English, computers, and more.
Tesfa is a small house that is for and funded by the Eritrean asylum-seeker community in Lod. Tesfa, means “hope” in Tigrinya (the language spoken in Eritrea and at home for most of the students). Eritrean community members are denied access to many municipal and state services and this centre offers cultural and community services. Yahel Fellows work with young children in Tesfa to provide a safe environment and teach English to very eager students.
Potchim Atid (Opening a Future) is a nationwide program aimed to support children and families living in the social and geographical periphery in Israel. The vision of the program is to provide children and their families with confidence, skills and equal opportunities to grow and realize their own unique potential. The program empowers the children in the personal, family, learning and social realms incorporating many available community resources and encouraging family involvement. Yahel volunteers placed at Potchim Atid will have the opportunity to facilitate group activities for children together with Israeli staff, focusing on life skill building activities.
Aluma is a non-profit organization based in Lod. Aluma's goal is to facilitate social change that can build resilience in Israeli society, by strengthening the sense of belonging and Israeli identity with individuals and communities. Aluma encourages young adults to play productive, influential roles in Israeli society, while maintaining their own unique identities, values and ways of life. For young adults in Israel, meaningful post-high school service, acquiring higher education, developing personal skills and striving for excellence can facilitate social mobility and enhance connection with Israeli society. Yahel Fellows work with the resource development team to support grant writing and content management.
Tech-Career is an Israeli NGO established by and for Ethiopian-Israelis to open the door to technological careers for young Ethiopian Israelis. Tech-Career’s vision is to serve as a springboard for young Ethiopian-Israelis to gain the knowledge and skills to pursue promising and sustainable careers in fields in high demand in Israel’s high-tech industries. Their programs include: workshops in “soft” business skills, mentorships and group and individual guidance to prepare students for employment in the dynamic culture of Israel’s leading high-tech firms. Yahel volunteers will assist with English training for Tech-Career Fellows, as well as assisting the Tech-Career resource development team.
Fidel ("alphabet" in Amharic) supports the educational and social integration of Ethiopian Jews in Israel. Established by Ethiopian and native Israelis 20 years ago in order to provide a solution for education and integration challenges, Fidel's current programs operate throughout the country and offer youth and adults the necessary means to integrate into and succeed in Israeli society. Fidel runs youth centers, parents' groups and young leadership groups, provides educational and social mediators in schools, and offers an educational initiative for raising literacy and community development in public schools. Yahel volunteers will assist Fidel with the youth centers and various aspects of their non-profit work.