Israel Service Fellows to Work in Druze Youth Centers in Akko

June 4, 2012

In addition to meaningful volunteer work with young Jewish people in Akko this fall, many of Ma'ase Olam's Israel Service Fellows will also be working in Druze and Arab youth centers near Akko this year. 
The Druze and Arab community has limited access to opportunities and resources that allow them to fully integrate into Israeli society. Despite the Druze community's long-standing and deep commitment to the State of Israel, expressed among other things in the fact that all Druze males serve in the IDF, economic distress is widespread, and social services supplied to the community are extremely limited and lacking. At the same time, aspects of  Druze and Arab society is struggling with the transition from traditionalism to modernity, with the challenges presented by such a transition being especially palpable among Druze and Arab youth. This transition is also being felt in the struggle for women’s rights in the Druze community. There is growing awareness that the deepening crisis has potential ramifications beyond the community itself.
Israel Service Fellows will be working in youth centers that provide programming for Arab and Druze youth that promote leadership development, volunteerism, and equality in Akko. The program a chance for people 13-25 years old from diverse populations (from at-risk youth to exceptional students) a variety of high quality and value-rich activities, focused on promoting volunteerism, leadership development, and educational enrichment.
The work at the youth center will run from the afternoon through the evening. Programming at the youth centers is extensive, including sessions and classes that might focus on drama, music, computer skills, education and more. Activities that Israel Service Fellows might operate include organizing a spelling bee or debate course, planning a community events, and English instruction.
In many cases the youth centers are the only public place where young people in those communities will get these services. Israel Service Fellows will have the opportunity to operate in a framework where the work they are doing will be groundbreaking. Without their presence, the residents of the communities they will be working in would not take place, depriving young people in those communities the opportunities presented to them by Israel Service Fellows.