The SEA Beren – Galila initiative is delighted to continue its support to the “Embrace” program, based in Kiryat Shmona.
The “Embrace” program brings together a large group of approximately 75 teens three times each week, from September through June each year, into the Tennis Center of Kiryat Shmona. Once there, they undergo a series of organized activities run by a dedicated team of trained staff, including students from the nearby Tel Hai College School of Social Work. The activities at the Center include helping the kids in their school-home studies, educational enrichment, personal self-esteem, team spirit and comradary. Many of the activities are held outdoors – including playing tennis as a disciplined sport – in addition to participating in nature hikes, trips to IDF bases and other locations around the country and much more. These kids’ personal progress are monitored by social workers from the local municipality and the “Embrace” program is run hand-in-hand with these professionals who are in charge of the family’s file, including the teen attending the program at the tennis center.
The greatest change is that this center became more than just a place to play tennis. For the children it’s a sanctuary, a home-away-from home. They practice tennis in the mornings with their class mates and in the afternoon they become part of the regular programs. The children learn more about their community – increasing their social networks and broadening their horizons.
This year we plan to continue our environmental activities with the society for the Protection of Nature in Israel – the Environmental Pioneers.
Parental involvement and home-school partnership are significant as we found out that the children do better in school, both academically and socially, when parents are involved. The social work students – participating in the program are conducting home visits and are trying to integrate the parents in the program process.
The success of this program is astounding. Many of these teens have successfully overcome many challenges and difficulties that have stifled their maturity and have, in some cases, literally kept them off the streets and away From vagrant and violent behavior. The results are impressive. The program graduates serve as role models for the teens attending the program – an invaluable asset that is a cornerstone of the program’s success.