Helping At-Risk Youth
The Agnes and Beny Steinmetz Foundation views the empowerment and advancement of at-risk youth with great importance. The foundation seeks to enable these young people build a normative lifestyle geared towards social inclusion and success. In order to achieve this, it supports organizations that use educational and creative tools as well as innovative models to provide high-quality and proactive solutions to this segment of the population.
The foundation’s goal in supporting these organizations is twofold. First, it seeks to directly play a role in their attempt to reach out to young people and implement their vision. Second, it wishes to assist them in a larger sense by spreading the word, i.e. raising awareness and making the model and tools they developed more accessible to other organizations in Israel and across the world.
In an effort to provide the organizations with an additional layer of support, the foundation spearheaded the establishment of the forum of organizations for at-risk young people. The forum consists of all the organizations supported by the foundation and gathers once a year to encourage networking and cooperation, which allows colleagues to learn from each other and receive mutual support.
Organizations supported by the foundation throughout the years include the Darna Rehabilitation Community, the AMIT network of schools, the Yehoraz Organization’s Alley Runners Club, the Nirim organization, the Karov Theater founded by Niko Nitai, and the Naggar Multidisciplinary School of Art and Society in Musrara, Jerusalem.
The tools used by these and other organizations are quite varied. They include water-based activities, competitive sports, outdoor challenges, animal-assisted therapy, therapeutic horseback riding, soccer, theater, and music. The Steinmetz Foundation and the organizations that it supports operate with the belief that personal attention, a respectful attitude, and the use of therapeutic, educational, and creative tools will help bring young people together in a new and different way that is experiential and empowering while also encompassing a broad range of spheres in life.
Supervision of the Organizations' Activities
In order to ensure best use of funds, the foundation meets with the organizations at the start of the year to set shared goals. Each organization sends the foundation a detailed work plan for the upcoming year with all the activities that it has planned while also designating clear goals that fit within its estimated costs. The foundation continues to provide oversight throughout the rest of the year, and detailed reports are sent at the end of the year that summarize each organization’s activity and state whether the goals were met as well as whether the budget allocation was properly used.
Depending on the organization, these goals may include all or some of the following: personal empowerment; the development and cultivation of life skills as well as creative skills; encouragement of self-discipline; ensuring that young people stay in school; completion of matriculation exams; enlistment in the IDF and service in a meaningful role; integration into the workforce; cultural enrichment; contribution to the community.
The Forum of Organizations for At-Risk Youth
The Agnes and Beny Steinmetz Foundation has not sufficed with simply providing financial support for these organizations’ activities. The foundation also established a forum consisting of representatives from all of them. The forum of organizations for at-risk youth was created first and foremost in order to enable colleagues to learn from each other and to collaborate together.
The goals of the forum of organizations for at-risk youth are:
- To help organizations work on behalf of at-risk youth while constantly improving their administrative and professional capabilities
- To allow organizations to become familiar with other organizations working in similar fields, whether tangential or complementary, to encourage cooperation and collaboration
- To help organizations promote the use of tools they developed and expand their spheres of influence
- To raise awareness among officials responsible for welfare and education as to the existence of the numerous and varied tools employed in the field
The members of the forum meet annually and are hosted each time by a different member organization. At these annual meetings, the hosting organization presents its work and holds a productive discussion about shared challenges faced by all those working with or on behalf of at-risk youth.