Updated: Oct 12
As the attack on Israel continues, many Dror Israel educators remain under fire in Sderot, Ashkelon and Be'er Sheva. We have managed to be in touch and check in with 90% of our students and program participants so far, but there is concern regarding the fate of some of the remaining 10%. Over 10% of Dror Israel educators have been called up for reserve duty, and those who have not are working hard to provide whatever aide they can during these horrific times.
Programming for children of medical workers: With schools closed, parents who work at hospitals need solutions in order to go to work caring for the wounded. Dror Israel educators are operating day camp activities at Mazor (Akko), Sheba (Ramat Gan) and Barzelai (Ashkelon) hospitals for kids ages 3-12. Through games and group activities, these programs allow the children to process their experiences and maintain some sense of security and normalcy, while giving their parents peace of mind and the chance to focus on their essential work. Currently 650 children each day take part in these activities.
Support for evacuated families: Dror Israel educators are operating day care and programs for traumatized children and families who have been evacuated from Gaza border communities under attack. In safer locations. these programs give a feeling of love and security to these extremely traumatized children who have lost loved ones and experienced violence first-hand, while also allowing the parents of young children to have some time to themselves.
Currently these programs take place in 14 locations including:
Mitzpe Ramon in Dror Israel's boarding school for evacuees from Kibbutz Erez
Hotels in the Dead Sea area for Kibbutz Be'eri's evacuees
Beit Berl College for those who have fled Sderot
Eilat and Tel Aviv for evacuees from Kibbutz Nir Am and Netiv HaAsara
Kibbutz Mizra for those from Kibbutz Gevim
Rehovot for evacuees from Sderot and Netivot
with new locations opening and absorbing evacuees by the hour.
Community volunteering and preparedness: Dror Israel Educator Communities throughout the country in areas not under fire are collecting supplies for soldiers and evacuated families as well as working with local municipalities to ensure that local public bomb shelters are clear and accessible in the event that they will be needed.
Teens from 22 youth movement branches including 2 in Druze villages are volunteering, collecting and packaging food donations, as well as developing and distributing activity packs for children in affected areas who are spending many hours stuck in protected rooms and shelters.
Youth counselors in bomb shelters: In underprivileged communities where people don't have safe rooms in their homes, our experienced youth educators are running therapeutic and educational programs for children and families in Rehovot, Ashdod, Kiryat Gat and Ashkelon, with more locations opening as needed.
Emergency response in our vocational schools for youth at risk: Based on the shocking events of the attacks on Kibbutzim in the Gaza border area, students and teachers at our Dror Galil vocational school have worked together to design and produce devices to lock bomb shelter doors from the inside. In the past days, they have produced over 1,000 units and are working with the IDF Home Front Command to distribute them to residents in the north who are now facing rockets and threat of invasion from Lebanon.
Students in the culinary arts track at our Jerusalem high school have been cooking meals for soldiers, while students at our Karmiel high school are working on ensuring that bomb shelters in their city are prepared in the event that they will be needed.
Teachers at all Dror Israel schools and programs are meeting with their students online and via phone to provide emotional support as well as tools for dealing with this traumatic situation.
Emotional support for youth: Dror Israel educators across the country are providing in-person and online programming, distributing activity kits and other educational materials to help youth process what they are experiencing and seeing on the news. Preparing junior counselors with the emotional support skills which will help them to care for traumatized children as they volunteer with evacuees.
Dror Israel educators continue to assess the developing needs and possible responses. We are working to prepare all educators with tools for providing support for the long lasting, traumatic impact of the current situation.
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