Closing Ranks

In 2015, senior officers of the IDF’s paratrooper battalions 50 and 101, their spouses, and friends founded the non-profit organization Closing Ranks. In response to increasingly growing gaps they observed in society, the members of the organization undertook a mission to bridge the gaps they saw, to close ranks, in the same way that’s done in military operations and exercises when someone falls behind. They decided to contribute their personal resources towards the advancement of young men and women who have no family support network and need a guiding hand and an open heart.

The Project: Occupational Guidance

The organization’s primarily works to personally guide, direct, and empower at-risk young adults who lack a family support network, and who have completed military/civilian service, in their transition towards independence, and in order to help them become involved and contributing citizens. Members of Closing Ranks work with young adults through the stages of accomplishing goals in education, employment, financial independence, and housing.

Since its founding, Closing Ranks is proud to have provided professional, compassionate, respectful, and encouraging guidance to about 50 young adults who are taking their first steps towards independence. The organization aims to reach 200 young adults by the end of 2017.

The transition from military/national service to civilian life is complex and can be lonely for at-risk young adults who lack a family support network and they often encounter difficulties in navigating this stage of their life. Meaningful and supportive mentoring, by mature, experienced and capable adults, can provide meaningful assistance for young people during this critical time. The organization’s volunteers personally guide, direct, and empower at-risk young adults who lack a family support network, and who have completed military/civilian service, in their transition towards independence, and in order to help them become involved and contributing citizens. Members of Closing Ranks work with young adults through the stages of accomplishing goals in education, employment, financial independence, and housing.

During its first year, the organization formed volunteer teams all over Israel. These mentors undergo once a month training and education by professionals with experience with young adults from low socioeconomic status.

The minimum mentorship period is one year, and consists of two, 1.5-2 hours long meeting every month.

The mentor and young mentee coordinate a time and place convenient to both.

Pairings are made based on geographic proximity, needs and interests, and personal compatibility. Approximately half of the young adults who take part are mentored by two mentors (a couple).

Lamerhav is extensively involved with the knowledge and organizational development of Closing Ranks, and the two organizations are working on building a model for cooperation with the Ministry of Social Services, for the purpose of establishing mentor training groups staffed by a professional from the field (psychologist, social worker, or facilitator). Closing Ranks volunteer coordinators in each city/region take applications, make admissions decisions, pair up mentors and mentees, and oversee mentor training and progress. Nationally, the volunteer program is overseen by the organization’s executive director.