ABOUT RISHON LEZION
Rishon LeZion is the fourth-largest city in Israel, located along the central Israeli coastal plain 8 km (5 mi) south of Tel Aviv. It is part of the Gush Dan metropolitan area.
The Yahel fellowship is based in the Ramat Eliyahu neighborhood. This vibrant neighborhood is home to about 14,000 residents. About 41% of the residents are of Ethiopian descent and others are a mix of residents from the FSU, Arab-speaking countries, and from other origins. The neighborhood is rated 6 out of 20 in terms of its socioeconomic level. At the center of the neighborhood is the local Matnas (community center) and a bustling main street with colorful fruit and vegetable stands. The neighborhood is a mosaic of cultures with a strong community feel.
SAMPLE VOLUNTEER PLACEMENTS IN RISHON LEZION
Tebeka: Justice & Equality for Ethiopian Israelis
Tebeka (Amharic for “Advocate of Justice”), is the legal aid organization serving Israel’s 140,000-member Ethiopian community. The organization was founded in 2000 by the first Ethiopian Israeli attorneys and professionals in order to safeguard the rights of Ethiopian immigrants, to ensure that community members in need have access to quality legal services that are comprehensive and free, to advance the community’s successful integration into Israeli society, and to cultivate Israel’s next generation of leaders and legal scholars from within the Ethiopian community. Through this work, Tebeka not only aims to build a more promising future for Ethiopian Israelis but also to advance the cause of justice and equality for the sake of all Israeli citizens. Yahel participants volunteering at Tebeka assist with resource development, fundraising, grant research, grant writing, and social media.
West Rishon Welfare Department
The West Rishon Welfare Department is a branch of the Rishon Lezion Municipal Authority for Social Integration. The department provides services to individuals, families and the community at large. The majority of services are financed and supervised by various governmental offices. In addition, the department develops particular services designed to fit the needs of specific groups in the community, such as the elderly, families with financial difficulties, children and youth at risk, victims of violence, people with special needs, and more. Yahel volunteers will be involved in the following Welfare Department programs:
Education-Welfare Childcare Facilities – These childcare facilities are educational-therapeutic afterschool frameworks for children ages 6 to 12. The staff at the facilities work to promote the emotional, behavioral, educational, and social abilities of each child and to help improve the relationship between the children and their parents. The facilities offer a variety of social and recreational activities, assistance with schoolwork, life skills, and therapy as needed.
Matnas Ramat Eliyahu
The Ramat Eliyahu Community Center was founded in 1978 and provides a variety of activities for all ages to thousands of residents in the Western Rishon Lezion area. The Matnas promotes educational, social and cultural activities for the benefit of the individual and the community, fostering the development of a democratic and pluralistic society. In addition, the Matnas offers programs catering to people with special needs from all over the city, involving community members and volunteers. The Matnas offers Yahel volunteers a variety of volunteer placements:
Matnas Learning Center: This placement takes place in the Matnas library and involves tutoring children or youth one-on-one or in small groups, predominantly assisting with English homework.
Terminal: Terminal is a special project intended for students in grades 5-6. In addition to aid with schoolwork, students receive extracurricular activities and enrichment.
Matnas Youth Center: The Youth Center serves predominantly as an open safe-space for children and youth from the neighborhood in the afternoons. The Youth Center staff includes permanent informal educators and Israeli volunteers dedicating a year of service to the community before they begin their military service. This placement offers an opportunity to work with youth at risk in an informal setting and to collaborate with young Israeli volunteers.
Homework at Home
A project designed to empower parents and families to take ownership over their children’s education inside the home. Yahel volunteers visit students in their homes weekly and assist with English homework and other English related projects.
Project Atzmaut ("Independence" in Hebrew) is a long-standing organization in Ramat Eliyahu that provides tools for Ethiopian immigrants to integrate into Israeli society. Their activities focus on education, employment, and family life. Atzmaut staff work in schools, serving as liaisons and mediators between various schools and local families, as well as within the community of Ramat Eliyahu itself. Yahel volunteers will work within the Homework at Home program, offering English support to immigrant families.
Volunteer Placements in Schools
The Yahel Social Change Program works closely with various schools in the Ramat Eliyahu area. 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. In 2017-2018 Yahel will be collaborating with the following schools:
Itamar Secular Elementary School
Zevulun Hammer National-Religious Elementary School
Avnei Hachoshen – Mekif Yud Secular High School*