Moving towards Independence

Lamerhav together with the Rural Education Administration, runs a program which provides guidance and support to 12th graders who lack a family support network and are soon to graduate from the state boarding school system. University students who work for the Administration’s various programs act as mentors for the program in least 3 board schools.

Background

The need for out-of-home care for young adults in Israel is constantly increasing. This phenomenon is related to the fact that in recent years many of those who “drop out” of secondary schools in Israel are young adults who are new immigrants to the country.

It has been established, both in Israel and in other immigrant society countries, that young adult immigrants are in need of out-of-home educational placements. This need is amplified by the fact that over 10% of all children in Israel are new immigrants, and that most of them, along with around a third of all children in Israel, live under the poverty line.

Furthermore, recent social and economic changes that have taken place in Israel have led to the impoverishment (in both relative and absolute terms) of many families, which has resulted in educational deprivation for children from these families. The social welfare and educational systems, especially those in the LES periphery of Israel, are dealing with budgetary cuts which makes it difficult to deal with this reality, and which lead to higher drop-out rates, and an increase in neglect and crime among young adults.

In these circumstance, out-of-home educational settings (state boarding schools) can become a vital safety net which can effectively address these shortcomings. And in fact, the boarding school system population consists mostly of native and immigrant young adults on the cusp of dropping out of educational system, alongside those who need or choose this type of setting.

Beginning at age 18, the young graduates of this system enter young adulthood, generally considered a time of freedom and independence, excitement and dreams. At the same time, they experience feelings of stress and anxiety that stem from the instability and uncertainty they have experienced for most of their life. They face many options and must make a variety of decisions (regarding military/national service, education, employment, and relationships) regarding their future, all while lacking suitable tools and resources, and no longer being under the governmental support umbrella.

In order to assist these young adults in overcoming the many challenges they face, Lamerhav together with the Rural Education Administration, launched the “Working Towards Independence” initiative in September 2017 – a program which provides guidance and support to 12th graders who lack a family support network and are soon to graduate from the state boarding school system. University students who work for the Administration’s various programs will act as mentors during a pilot program in at least 3 board schools.

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