Hakshiva’s teen program serves a broad spectrum of teens. The adolescent years can be a confusing and lonely time for all kids. Biological changes, social shifts, individuation from parents as well as academic demands are part of the challenges that kids experience.
Some could benefit from positive role model they can schmooze with, and get guidance or participating in a hands on learning experience This sort of help is often just what is needed to make a teens experience at school, home or with friends smoother and easier. Very often our academic or social programs preemptively resolve problems which would have arisen otherwise.
In other cases, additional challenges such as Aliya, learning disabilities, illness and family instability further make a child’s adjustment more difficult and can put them at risk. At-risk is defined as having significant deficits in key areas of development.
Some of these children are vulnerable to a range of dangerous and antisocial behavior including drug and alcohol abuse, as well as petty crime. These behaviors are not only harmful in the present, they also jeopardize their future. It often begins with common teen challenges – a slew of bad grades at school, arguments at home or a few poor judgment calls. The situation can often quickly spiral downward without proper intervention.
Hakshiva proactively offers a wide spectrum of programs to meet teens where they are in their lives.
Teen Drop-In Center
No matter their family background, many teens need a place to call their own. Hakshiva’s Teen Drop-In Center, located in Ramat Bet Shemesh, offers these teens a safe space to relax and socialize. The Center, which accommodates English and Hebrew speakers as well as boys and girls separately, has a recreational room with a pool table, Xboxes, a foosball table, comfortable couches and a karaoke-ready music system. There is also a casual outdoor sitting area perfect for relaxing or quiet conversation.
Open every weeknight from 7pm until midnight, the Center is staffed by madrichim and madrichot; on Friday nights, teens meet at the home of a madrich in the community. These trained madrichim act as positive role models in the lives of these teens and are always available for a conversation, a quick chat, or supportive guidance. Taking genuine interest and care in the lives of those who visit the Center, these counselors serve as friends and mentors, helping each teen envision a different future and helps him or her plot the course of action to get there.
But we understand that not all teens are ready to charge ahead, and that’s where the laid back atmosphere of the Center comes into play. When ready and interested, participants will find supportive madrichim ready to lend them an ear, a shoulder and helpful guidance. As well, the Center’s madrichim are professionally equipped and experienced in serving as liaisons between our teens and local bodies such as school administrators, the Department of Education, Welfare Department representatives, police and other municipal leaders.
Hakshiva’s madrichim aren’t just positive role models; they’re invested in our teenagers’ futures.
Things improved with my parents – thanks!
“Nothing was going my way at all – not with yeshiva, my parents or my friends. I’m so glad I went to the drop-in center. I met some great people and starting coming pretty often. The groups are awesome and so are the madrichim. They have helped me improve things with my parents – so thanks!” - T.E.
Skills Development Groups and Workshops
For many teens, what they’ve experienced in school or yeshiva has been discouraging or unsuccessful. Negative classroom and academic experiences may have soured a teen’s appetite for, and attitude towards, education.
Hakshiva works hard to change that.
Our exciting educational and skills development groups, which meet once a week for various lengths of time, offer teenagers the chance to discover experiential learning—whether they are currently enrolled in school or not.
The Center offers a wide selection of groups for teens to engage in. Some are more hands on activities and others are focused on skills development. These groups host guest speakers such as sports figures, Rabbis, educators and celebrities who share their life experiences with a focus on life skills. The Center schedules topics which speak to their lives, such as teen health, body image issues, eating disorders, Israeli society, the structure of the IDF and the Israeli Yeshiva system while incorporating site visits and volunteering experiences. Other topics, like the importance of Shabbos and welcoming guests, drive home that bigger picture of how our lives connect to others’. Volunteering does the same thing; and past opportunities have included visiting children in hospitals, meeting with disadvantaged IDF soldiers and preparing food for families who needed some extra help due to a birth or other life event.
Our skills development groups allow these same kids a chance to learn new skills and this helps them uncover hidden talents and interests which they might not have even been aware of. This journey to self-knowledge, paved with enjoyable activities and bolstering their sense of competence, is often a welcome change from their prior unsuccessful attempts at learning in school and elsewhere. Past classes and workshops have included photography, graffiti art, sushi making, gourmet baking and a variety of other activities. At the Center, teens can experience success and competence – and this new feeling is often a turning point for a young person, allowing him or her to imagine a better future. And Hakshiva is there, ready to help make it happen.
Both our educational and skills development groups give teens the chance to blossom in a non-academic setting, while also providing the social interaction that typical classroom provides. Through experiential learning, each participant can discover and develop their talents, strengths, and skills. Even if participants have thus far felt discouraged in the classroom, our educational and vocational courses can be a source of positive learning experiences. Through continued reinforcement, participants are empowered and motivated to keep progressing in a healthy way.
Crisis Intervention & Guidance
When a teenager is in immediate distress, Hakshiva is equipped to respond.
Our Crisis Intervention and Guidance resource provides short-term solutions—such as medical attention, police/legal involvement, or shelter assistance—to emergency situations involving Ramat Bet Shemesh youth. Our experienced staff members may serve as mediators between the teen and various agencies such as the Welfare Department, police, and truancy officers.
Whether we receive a call from the teenager in question or their parents, our staff members provide as much aid as possible and do the utmost to prevent the situation from escalating further.
Hakshiva aspires to assist every teen in the community who needs help. Our staff have their fingers on the pulse of the neighborhood and are often actually out on the streets of Ramat Bet Shemesh on weeknights and weekends to be available for any teenager who may need urgent intervention.
Girls High School Program
Young people need a forum to air their thoughts, ask questions and seek guidance. Parents, teachers and friends are all valuable supports; at the same time, our community’s young women may sometimes need more. Our Girls High School Program provides an additional, invaluable forum for the discussions so important to teenagers: an understanding environment where girls feel comfortable talking about the issues that matter the most to them.
Led by an educational guidance counselor and a team of professionally trained facilitators, the program is run in partnership with local high schools for girls in 10th – 12th grades. Classes are divided into small discussion groups that meet weekly in the home of a trained facilitator. Facilitators ensure that the environment is comfortable as they provide a mature, listening ear ensuring that the girls are guided along the right path.
The girls know that their concerns and questions are heard and seen as valid. Girls see the group as their place. They know the atmosphere is supportive and accepting so they can raise a variety of topics and get feedback and guidance in a healthy forum. This helps build a congruence between the girls’ own ideas and those of their school and the local community. Our constant repeat attendance rate tells us that they find value in this and we know from speaking with the girls that look forward to the program all week. This feedback, like that for our other programs, ensures that Hakshiva continues to remain responsive to our community’s needs.