Yemin Orde ninth graders learned about inclusion and the importance of helping to build a better world.
Ninth graders from Yemin Orde Youth Village attended a three-day symposium in Jerusalem that focused on the challenges facing people with disabilities, and how best to help others in need. In total, 2,100 youth from all around Israel attended the symposium.
Yemin Orde youth met with national, political and education leaders, including Naftali Bennet, Israel’s Minister of Education, and learned about inclusion advocacy, legislation and the importance of helping to build a better society in order to build a better world.
At the program, youth met people who experience daily challenges because of visual, hearing, or mobility challenges. Participants also experienced, first-hand, some of the difficulties of physical impairments by wearing noise-cancelling headphones, eye-masks and sitting and moving in wheelchairs.
Giving back through good deeds
Youth visited the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, where they discussed possible new laws that would benefit people in need, as well as Israeli society as a whole. Among the suggestions of our youth:
- Israeli Day – a day when different cultures in Israeli society would express themselves.
- Provide greater accessibility in public places.
- Increase the amount of time in school when youth learn about life skills.
Good deeds go a long way
The third day of the teaching field trip centered on a young Israeli soldier, named Shiloh, who was killed in an accident while serving in the army. This young man’s legacy holds special meaning to the ninth graders as their class in named in his memory.
Shiloh’s army commander met with the Village’s ninth graders while they were in Jerusalem. He told them that helping others and giving back to society was important to Shiloh, even though he was not much older and liked much of same things as Yemin Orde’s youth.
At this point, the Village’s youth understood that they, too, can strive to help others and make an impact in the life of a person in need.
“I saw how a little thing that a person gives can go a long way,” said one youth.
“I am also a contributor to society,” said another Yemin Orde ninth grader.
Before the ninth grade class returned to the Village, each youth received a pin with special instructions: to give the pin to one person on the way home, whether a friend, educator or stranger.
Pay it forward with good deeds
On returning to the Village, the ninth graders discussed what they learned in the three-day program and shared their thoughts about the social and educational dilemmas that face Israel’s society.
Tikkun Olam – social justice, helping others – is an important learning element at Yemin Orde. The Village’s at-risk youth participate in charitable activities in the nearby community, such as helping at local food banks, youth centers and in programs for frail seniors. These community service projects boosts self-esteem, leadership skills and leads to greater compassion for those in need.
Graduates of Yemin Orde continue to “pay to forward” throughout their lives and many are active volunteers and advocates in their communities.