Classroom Assistance: Bakehila uses a unique intervention model to lower the dropout rate in specific neighborhoods. We target borderline students in the critical 4th to 8th grade years, strengthening their learning and social skills so that they can succeed in later years. In the morning hours, our service year volunteers (Shinshinim) work with students in the classroom focusing on their math, Hebrew, and English skills, serving as teaching aides, tutors, mentors, and all-around roll models. We also hold intensive "Learning Marathons" twice a year (for two weeks) to assist weak students narrow educational gaps.
Learning and Enrichment Centers: Many children from disadvantaged families do not return home after school to supportive parents or a nutritious, hot meal. Bakehila addresses this by operating after-school Learning and Enrichment Centers where each child is greeted by a volunteer, receives a hot meal, and spends the afternnoon in a nurturing environment. In addition to receiving assistance with homework, children participate in enrichment classes in areas such as art, sports, dancing, and nature. Each learning center employs a center manager, teachers, Shinshinim, and other volunteers.
Youth Groups and Social Activities: In cooperation with the Community Board and the Youth Unit at the Jerusalem municipalities, we operate community leadership oriented youth groups (Madatz groups) to promote youth leadership and responsibility. Our goal is to get the teenagers involved in their neighborhoods so that, once they are older, they will be empowered to take responsibility in their community. Past activities and accomplishments have included creating a garden at a local school, trips to different parts of Israel, and, after graduating the program, running activity groups for younger participants.
Parental Involvement: Parents' involvement in a child's education is key to success in school and personal growth. Many parents among Bakehila's target population lack the knowledge, experience, free time, or language skills necessary to help their children. For this reason, Bakehila's involvement aims to assist parents in relating to and supporting their child. Programs include workshops for parents, facilitated discussions on topics related to adolescence, visits from Shinshinim, parent-child activities, and open house events at the local Learning Center.
Shinshinim Program: Every year, Bakehila admits around 50 Shinshinim to our program. Shinshinim live together in the neighborhoods to which they are assigned and work with the children of that neighborhood. They help children with school-work, create community-building projects, and engage children in activities that develop their sense of sense of self-worth. We closely guide our volunteers, using a model we developed and have shared with other organizations. Once a week, we engage Shinshinim in classes covering political, social, economical issues as wells as Jewish and universal values. We hope to empower our Shinshinim, while nurturing their civil leadership and activism. We run a similar program for the ShinShinim of the Scouts in Jerusalem.