“Ben-Yakir Youth Village will constitute a warm and loving home for its students in a protective optimal environment. The village will educate to a Jewish, Zionist, democratic and humane heritage. The village will broaden the horizons of its students to assist them in acquiring an academic and professional education”.
The vision of Ben-Yakir Youth Village
Ben-Yakir is a religious youth village, based in Kefar Haroeh settlement in Hefer Valley. The village was established 70 years ago to a target audience of immigrants and holocaust survivor youth and operated as an agricultural “Yeshiva”. In the passing years and according to the needs of the state of Israel, the village has undergone many changes and in the past 40 years it operates in its current state as a village for youth at risk from all around Israel.
Since January 2014, Ben-Yakir Youth Village operates as an NGO in full ownership of the Jewish Agency. Heading the Village’s Board of Directors is Mr. Benny Levin, and among the council members are representatives of the Jewish Agency as well as public representatives in the education field, finance and others.
The village contains a school where the residents study in 8th and 9th grades. The learning method at the school is based on the Feuerstein Institute method, which emphasizes developing skills and learning capabilities with reference to both the educational level and the emotional level of the youth. The classes are for a small number of students, the individual educational hours are numerous and the individual work plans are built in full cooperation with the dormitory staff and the learning reinforcement center.
The educational plans integrate experiential educational hours at the livestock, the educational greenhouse, and the carpentry shop and diversified enriching courses. This school year, 10-12 grade students study at a high school in TOM Youth Village at a nearby settlement.
The primary mission of the village staff is to provide tools and skills for life for the students of the village in order to allow its graduates become normative citizens in the Israeli society, to lead and succeed in their mature life.
In the school year of 2016, starting September 2105, the village’s management and the Air Force have joint forces in the establishment of a growing technological high school in the village. Soon next year, the students of the 10th grade will study electricity and will acquire a technological profession and later on will enlist to a meaningful professional service in the Air Force. The goal is to enable the students acquire a technological profession, direct them to continue to practical engineer studies and to open for them and with them a prospect for a prestige significant military service and respectful employment along the way.
In the current school year of 2015, about a hundred young men, age of 13-18, reside in the village. Students that the Israeli educational system has characterized as “youth at risk”. Most of our students come from homes with a poor socio-economic state and a non-functional family structure which fails to provide these youngsters their materialistic, emotional and intellectual needs they need in order to grow.
In more than a few homes, one parent or more suffers from a drinking problem or violence; 79% of the students' parents are unemployed, 17% of the students have dropped out of more than three schools before coming to Ben Yakir. A small percent of the students have a criminal record in which they work hard to eliminate legally and rehabilitate their lives.
It’s important to state, that all our students have normal intellectual and cognitive capabilities and are healthy both physically and mentally. Many of them have high skills in various fields such as mathematics, arts, sports and other. The authorities who refer the youngsters to us are the welfare departments in the local councils and municipalities, community social workers and students even joined the village by word of mouth.
The boarding school contains a staff of counselors, service boys and girls, who provide the student a safe place in a home atmosphere. In the boarding school, the youngsters learn about family life, global events, about the holidays and the Sabbath, about performing tasks (homework, cleaning etc.’), considerateness of the other and reciprocal respect.
The boarding school offers the students varied numerous afternoon activities such as courses inside the village and outside of it, a leisure club and many group activities, such as courses ceramics, choir and a rock band, football, bicycle, robotics and more.
The learning reinforcement center is active every afternoon, offering the students extra learning hours, private tutoring and marathons before matriculation exams. The learning reinforcement center is operated by staff of personnel in wage and volunteering students from Rupin Academic College.
The therapeutic staff includes social workers, psychologist, nurse, instructors for therapeutic horseback riding, art and ceramics therapists and other therapeutic people of different therapy disciplines. The different therapy sessions are open to all the students and are designed to assist every one of the students, in his own special journey.
All seventy members of Ben Yakir staff are dedicated to assist the students in believing in themselves and in the people who surround them, to build with them their future aspirations and help them in turning their dreams into reality.
We are not going to do this for them, but wish to provide them the tools to do it on their own.