The college runs various programs that strengthen academic and social skills among mar-ginalized children, youth and young adults in Israel and removing obstacles towards their integration in higher education and the workforce. To that end, we run a comprehensive program that addresses the unique needs of at risk youth in the crucial years of high school, through college, to the job market.
Nirim: A Therapeutic Mentoring Programfor
At-risk youth from culturally marginalized groups suffer multiple disadvantages - social, cultural and economic, are more prone to suffer neglect and therefore more likely to de-velop dangerous behaviors in school, at home, and with friends. Lacking supportive envi-ronment, these pressures often lead to violence, addictions, substance abuse and even sui-cidality. Nurturing the mental strength of these youth is fundamental to their survival, and to their ability to develop coping mechanisms that allow them to handle the challeng-es and difficulties they face, as well as the self-confidence, motivation, sense of purpose, maturity and tenacity that are crucial for them to ‘turn the corner’ and improve their life chances. At present, however, the overburdened welfare system in Israel fails to deliver adequate integrative solutions, especially to youth from disadvantaged groups in the pe-riphery.
Nirim is a one-of-a-kind program offering urgent emotional support for youth (15-18) in critical situations. The program runs according to a model of personal mentorship: MTA B.A psychology students offer weekly mentoring meetings for regular participants, and provide them with emotional guidance and support, under supervision of senior faculty at the MTA School of Behavioral Sciences as well as additional professional staff. The pro-gram further includes additional components of community work, in particular lectures and sessions for parents of at-risk youth, and workshops for pedagogical staff at schools.
The ongoing personal meetings, with adult students who serve as a role-models, nurture healthy relationships that youth-at-risk otherwise lack in their lives. In the three years pi-lot that the college ran so far, 120 youth have benefitted from the Nirim program and re-sults were overwhelmingly positive, in terms of personal behavioral change and improve-ment in educational achievements - as reported by school staff. In addition to the five schools that are currently part of the program, we intend to expand Nirim to peripheral areas with similar needs over the next five years.
For further information about our initiatives or pathways to your personal support of the MTA Capital Fund, please contact:
Adv. Liat Weiss-Shahaf / Vice President for External Relations
Ms. Tal Stalik Tzur / Project Manager, External Relations