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Branch of Hope: After being completely destroyed, the youth movement branch in Sderot has reopened

The branch of the HaNoar HaOved youth movement in Sderot, across the street from Sderot’s police station, was also destroyed on the seventh of October. Now, after five months, it has been reopened as residents return to the city.


Translated from: Maariv

Written by Peled Arbeli

16:58 06/03/2024 

Sderot's Social Resilience Leaders, preparing to return home.

The branch of the HaNoar HaOved youth movement in Sderot, across the street from Sderot’s police station, was also destroyed on the seventh of October. Now, after five months, it has been reopened as residents return to the city.


Since that dark day, the displaced Sderot community has  been split across several evacuee centers throughout the country. As a result of this situation, the HaNoar HaOved youth movement have expanded their usual activities and opened branches in the various evacuee centers in order to provide educational and social response to all the city’s youth movement participants. As time passed, the number of participants tripled.


Sderot's teen leaders have been supporting the city's kids in evacuee centers over the past months.

During the months when the evacuated youth stayed away from their homes in hotels serving as evacuee centers, the HaNoar HaOved youth movement operated a special Social Resilience Leadership training course which trained teen participants to mentor children and youth younger than them during and after the war. The youth movement has already held more than ten rounds of this seminar, in the evacuee centers throughout the country. No less than 80 teenagers from Sderot took part in the training courses.

 

Upon returning to the city, in addition to regular weekly programming, the branch will provide educational support, preparation for the IDF, and emotional support activities. The branch is in the process of being renovated and rebuilt, and currently, until it is repaired, for safety, the activities will take place in a local school.


The Sderot branch with police station seen in background (photo from 2019)

"On October 7, a terrible battle occurred at the police station just meters away from our branch. Our branch was used as a base to arm and protect the soldiers who came to fight in the battle for the police station. It was a terrible battle with high casualty. But despite the severe trauma we went through, I supported the continuation of the youth movement's activities after returning to the city. The programming will be led by the branch’s junior counselors and the newly trained Social Resilience Leaders who have been trained in the last months are leading the activity in the various evacuee centers," said Aviv Alfarn, a resident of Sderot and coordinator of the Sderot branch.


Aviv also added that: "The return to activities at the branch is significant as part of the return to normalcy. The teen leaders, who were trained in various places throughout the country, provided educational support to thousands of children and teenagers during this period, and turned the Sderot youth movement branch into an anchor of hope and goodness in the heart of the Sderot community at this time. I invite all the counselors and participants to return to the branch, to come to the activities and to continue the unbelievable process that we've started throughout the country and strengthen the activity in the Sderot branch."

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