web analytics
July 23, 2014 / 25 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Climbing to the Top: A Story of Strength

Shalom, a Menifa alumnus.

Shalom, a Menifa alumnus.
Photo Credit: Tazpit News Agency

A few years ago, Shalom was wandering the streets of Israel after he was thrown out of his high school for refusing to come to class.  Now – only four years later – Shalom is completing a commander’s course is an elite unit of the Israel Defense Forces and already has dreams to study engineering after he finishes officer’s school. What can Shalom’s complete turn-around - from high school dropout to motivated and disciplined IDF commander – be attributed to?

The answer can be found about a thirty minute drive from Jerusalem, in a special center called “Menifa.”

Menifa- Leverage for Life is a nonprofit organization that was founded in Israel in 2004. The mission of the organization is to prevent at-risk youth from dropping out of high school and to reintegrate detached youth into normative frameworks. Menifa establishes learning centers in existing high schools for teens who are in acute danger of dropping out of school and for those who have already detached from the educational system.  These centers are alternative full-time learning programs for the struggling teens.  Since its establishment, Menifa has operated 130 such programs around Israel.

One of Menifa’s centers lies on a farm approximately thirty minutes away from Jerusalem.  This center accepts boys between the ages of fourteen and eighteen.  Most of them come from broken homes or from families who are in financial straits.  The boys in this program have been involved in either alcohol or drug abuse or other destructive behaviors.  Shalom is one of the boys who came to this center after having no other place to turn to.

Shalom struggled in a regular high school framework.  He was kicked out of school in the 11th grade and he did not know where he would spend the next year, until he received a call from a man named Ariel who introduced himself from the organization Menifa.  Ariel invited Shalom to meet him and learn more about Menifa.

“It turned out to be my best year of school,” Shalom explains. “The staff gave us the freedom to choose what we wanted to learn and how and when. We wanted to come out of choice and out of a desire to take responsibility.”

In addition to the regular academic courses that they are offered, the boys have daily activities that provide them with social and emotional reinforcement and help build their life skills. The boys also clean the center every day and prepare lunch as a group in the kitchen. These group activities help instill in the boys a sense of teamwork and responsibility for oneself and others.

The youth are drawn to the center because of its unique approach that places an emphasis on the staff-student connection and on interpersonal relationships. Every morning, the center’s life coach, Yaniv greets each boy with a giant bear hug, bringing an instant smile to their faces. He calls the boys each morning to wake them up and to make sure they come to the center. He also makes house calls where he visits the boys and meets with their parents to help strengthen the parent-child relationship.

The relationships that the students form with the staff play an important role in their rehabilitation and return to normative functioning. “One of the most powerful experiences for me was the many intimate conversations I had with Ariel [the center’s coordinator] and my life coach from Menifa,” Shalom explains.  “I spoke to them about issues that were bothering me in my life.  I always felt comfortable speaking with them at eye level, without fear that they would react negatively.”

“Before the end of the school year, I had much hesitation whether I should enlist in the IDF immediately or first enroll in a pre-military preparatory academy,” Shalom continues.  “After many deep conversations with Ariel, I decided to enroll in a preparatory academy with two other friends from Menifa.  I believe this was the most important decision I ever made in my life and I have no doubt that Menifa led me to this choice,” he says.

About the Author: Alisa Bodner is a contributor to Tazpit News Agency.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

Please use the Facebook Tab below to leave your comment:

One Response to “Climbing to the Top: A Story of Strength”

  1. Thank you for covering this story of strength. For more information about Menifa visit our website.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
UN Secy-Gen Ban Ki-moon and outgoing Pres. Shimon Peres. Wednesday July 23 2014
Peres Warns Qatar to Stop Funding Terror in Gaza, Praises UN’s Ban
Latest News Stories
UN Secy-Gen Ban Ki-moon and outgoing Pres. Shimon Peres. Wednesday July 23 2014

Outgoing President Shimon Peres thanks UN leader Ban Ki-moon but warns it is time to stop ignoring Hamas terrorism and help Israel.

Thousands arrive to accompany Golani soldier Sgt. Max Steinberg from LA to his final rest at Jerusalem’s Mt. Herzl military cemetery.

Map of Gaza City rocket launcher sites in school yard. July 22, 2014

Another UNRWA school is found to be a storage spot for untold number of Hamas missiles.

Ben Gurion International Airport - nearly empty as the U.S. imposes a ban on flights to Israel, caving to Hamas missile attacks.

Former NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg defied a flight ban imposed by an Obama administration cowed by terror, flying to Israel with El Al.

Golani brigade commander was hospitalized after being wounded, but he returned to the battlefield to complete the mission.

The Ruderman Family Foundation rewards Jewish organizations for promoting inclusion of those with disabilities.

We mourn the dead, wish a speedy recovery to the wounded, and pray that God guides the government.

Israel’s transportation minister said cancelling flights to Israel is like handing a prize to terrorists.

Ban ki-Moon and John Kerry might have some credibility if they would talk peace with terrorists in Syria.

“Like all mothers of soldiers, I pray that this ends peacefully, that all the boys come home safe-and-sound,” Ruthie says.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said Tuesday that he respects the legitimacy of Israel’s right to defend itself, but also called on Israel to limit its reaction to ongoing Hamas rocket fire at Israeli civilians. According to a report on the Hebrew-language Ynet website, Mr Ban also said his organization rejected the terror gang’s […]

Left-wing Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said Tuesday that no ceasefire is imminent between Israel and Hamas, and added that the current military operation in the Gaza Strip was “unavoidable.” Speaking to Army Radio, Livni said there is no substance to Palestinian reports earlier in the day that Israel and the terrorists were considering an additional […]

Six IDF soldiers wounded in Gaza have showed significant improvement at Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheva, Israel Radio reported. Three soldiers have been downgraded from “serious” condition to “moderate,” and three additional soldiers are now listed as “lightly injured.” One hundred fourteen soldiers are currently hospitalised as the result of the fighting.

Leading US paper interviews Hamas leader, shocked to ‘discover’ interview takes place in civilian hospital.

PM meets wounded soldiers at Ashkelon hospital, tells foreign diplomats they have moral obligation to support Israel.

As of this writing, Code Red rocket alerts were sounded in the following locations Tuesday: 10:28 pm  Be’er Sheva Shoval, Rahat and surrounds 9:56 pm Be’er Sheva, Hatzerim, Tifrach, Meitar and surrounds 9:17 pm Lod, Yavneh, Kiryat Akron, Gedera, Ramle, Gan Yavneh, Kfar Bilu, Ashdod, Kiryat Malachi 9:00 pm  Bat Yam, Rishon L’Tsion, Rechovot, Modi’in, Macabim […]

More Articles from Alisa Bodner, Tazpit News Agency
Shalom, a Menifa alumnus.

Menifa-Leverage for Life is a nonprofit organization that was founded in Israel in 2004. The mission of the organization is to prevent at-risk youth from dropping out of high school and to reintegrate detached youth into normative frameworks. Since its establishment, Menifa has operated 130 such programs around Israel.

“You have all been through a long and difficult journey,” belted Rafi to the group of twenty-five boys at the end-of-year ceremony for Menifa’s Lech Lecha program in Gilo. “I remember the falls and climbs you each experienced.”

    Latest Poll

    Israel's Iron Dome Anti-Missile System:





    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/climbing-to-the-top-a-story-of-strength/2012/07/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: