Israel Cadet Trek 2016 - Strengthening the IDF from Within
[לעברית דפדף למטה ]
Personal message from the Academy's Director of Development Baruch Gordon:
Thanks for considering a donation. Here's what we are about in my own words:
The post-high school students that reach us are Sephardim, Yemenites and Ethiopians, the traditional underclass of Israel. We enable them to achieve all they can be.
Most come with zero motivation, often from neighborhoods where crime is rampant. One student stood up at a mid-year party and revealed with tears in his eyes that there is a person in Beer Sheva crippled for life because of a clash with him when he was involved in underworld crime. We convinced the army to accept him into a combat unit, where he excelled. Today, he is married with a child and studying engineering. He maintains contact with our staff to this day.
Most students come from two groups:
- Poor, disadvantaged homes where both parents are working long hours at poor paying jobs (sometimes two jobs) to make ends meet.
- Completely broken homes. We have a student this year who came to us after finishing a drug rehab program in 12th grade. Throughout his childhood, both parents were drug addicts. His mother is still addicted and a heavy user. His father is currently in drug rehab. The parents are currently in the midst of a bitter divorce. They live in abject poverty beyond belief. The student refused to accept financial gifts from us, so we find him odd jobs in Bet El. Alongside his studies and training at the academy, he supports himself and his family to the extent that he can.
In both types of homes, love, attention and affection are often lacking. The students are often at odds with their parents on a plethora of issues. They lack self esteem; they lack a values system; they lack respect of authority; they are lacking in Jewish identity and Jewish morals. They see a bleak future and garner within them much built-up anger.
They learn from the streets that the only way to survive is with your fists and swearing in every sentence. In the first few weeks of studies, there are often fist fights.
I am amazed every year to watch the transformation process. No one on staff tells them what to do. No one pressures them to cut their hair, take off earnings, stop smoking, or even to wake up in the morning to go to prayer and classes. In the first two months, most students sleep til noon every day.
We embrace them and accept them as they are. Not a word of criticism is uttered. For the first time in their lives, an adult is telling them that they are diamonds and, indeed, we treat them as such. These boys, like diamonds, just need a little polish.
The transformation comes slowly and touches all aspects of their character. When they sense how we view them, they see the opportunity to raise themselves up.
In the home too, they begin to speak respectfully to their parents. One of Why do the IDF generals and the parents say our program is so successful? Without the academy, these kids would have never been considered for leadership positions, but now, they enlist into combat units with tremendous responsitiblity and even become officers. These kids would have had menial jobs, and would have continued in these jobs after the IDF.
The fact that these kids serve in combat units, enables them to get better jobs afterwards, as the Israel job market gives much weight to the unit that a person serves in. So, the Academy is enabling these youth to get better jobs for the rest of their lives.
After their service, we have a program for students to come back for a year to live on campus, while they begin academic studies. Alongside their university studies (which we sometimes pay for), we give them a stipend in exchange for their spending some 20 hours a week being a study partner with a first-year student. The positive influence that these "older brother" figures have on the young cadets cannot be measured.
Our cadets need extreme extra curricular activities to engage them and keep them here. They need a serious fitness gym, navigation excercises, night marches, rapelling, biking, captivating lectures, role models throughout the year, classrooms, room, board, maintenance, and teachers. The costs are tremendous, and the reward is even greater.
The IDF is so happy about our unique program that they give us matching funds for each student. They pay 40% of the cost. But our students simply can't afford the remaining 60%. No way.
Once a year, we are launching the Israel Cadet Trek to raise funds to make all of the above happen. Please donate generously, and together, we are:
Changing Israeli Society One Student, One Soldier, One Child at a Time.
Let's let our student Yair from Ramot sum it all up. He writes:
I was a very sarcastic teenager, disillusioned from the Orthodox Judaism that I was exposed to. I wanted to leave Israel and never look back. I wanted to leave Judaism. That is not how I feel now. Now I am so happy and so proud to be a Jew. I love the Land of Israel, and I hope to serve in an elite army unit so I can do the most that I can for the protection of Israel. The Academy has made that change within me.
Help me support the IDF Preparatory Academy in Bet El by making a donation. The process is fast, easy, and secure. I truly appreciate any support you can provide. It will benefit a great cause!
If you can't make a donation at this point, help me reach my goal by sharing this page on Facebook and Twitter!
Or, even better, send an e-mail to friends you think might be interested in contributing and include a link to my page!
Thanks so much for your generosity!
Director of Development
The Bet El IDF Prep Academy