Started in 2005 , Youth of Light (YOL) is launched by the Patrizio Paoletti Association for Development and Communication in Israel which is part of a broader program called “Schools in the World – Pedagogy for the Third Millennium”. YOL program runs activities aimed at improving the educational system of some Israeli municipalities by introducing adequate educational instruments to be used in their effort to support youth at risk of deviance. The objective is to teach the youth at risk the professional and social competencies needed to access the labor market and reach work stability which will enhance opportunities for social inclusion. Those pedagogical tools have been continuously developing over the 9 years of experience acquired since the beginning of the project. In the first years of its implementation, the program was located in the city of Jerusalem and moved thereafter to the city of Ashkelon in December 2012 where it is still implemented until today. In both cases the program has been implemented in cooperation with the local municipalities.
Beneficiaries of the program are young people aged from 15 to 19 years old who are identified by the local authorities as “at risk” with some of them not even living with their families any more. The program also engages beneficiaries with different cultural backgrounds in order to bridge the socio-cultural fracture characterizing Israeli society. In the past 9 years, 150 youth have benefited from the program for a period ranging between 1 to 2 years. In some cases, results showed only after 3 or 4 months of enrollment with young people already returning to school, to their families or actively looking for a job (often successfully). It is worth noting that in 2014 100% of beneficiaries decided to resume their studies, not only in schools, but also in other educational institutions. One of the most outstanding outcomes of the project is the transition of beneficiaries from Youth at Risk of deviance and social marginalization to Youth of Light with a brighter future .
Partners: YOL is being implemented in partnership with the department of education of the municipality of Ashkelon and is located in the infrastructure of the Meitar (the Municipality’s daily center for youth at risk). In addition, Sabon Ltd. a partner to the project, sells custom-made candles by the YOL . This provides the youth with a sense of fulfilment as they give value to society by producing the candle products and seeing that there is demand. This component of marketing enhances the project’s visibility and sustainability.
INNOVATIVE DIMENSIONS FOR YOUTH AT RISK:
• A unique methodology that addresses education in a holistic way and leads to long term and in depth change.
• An approach that complements and works in partnership with local organizations and institutions.
• Youth of Light is able to motivate its young beneficiaries by offering them the chance to be active in a protected working environment, where they are assigned with growing responsibilities that allow them to become accountable and well-socialized adults.
• The program calibrates its communicative style to young beneficiaries in order to create a kind of “youth society” where each of them can support the other peers to reach his/her own objectives by the end of the program.
• Individual tailor-made educational plans are designed on the basis of the specific needs of each beneficiary.
9 YEARS OF ENGAGEMENT IN JERUSALEM & ASHKELON