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Zivneurim – For Israel’s Youth at Risk

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Last Updated on November 17, 2021

Zivneurim – Youth at Risk – “The Path of the Sea”

Zivneurim, established in September 2000 by a group of former navy commandos in memory of their comrade Ziv Levy (O.B.M), who fell in the line of duty, operates today throughout Israel – from the Jordan Valley in the north to Yerocham in the south. We offer a unique year long educational course using marine activities to prevent youth at risk from dropping out of school.

The Need

Recent years have shown a steady increase in the number of young people dropping out the education system. The transition from elementary to middle school often comes with an emotional-educational breakdown. That in conjunction with the characteristics of the teen years and without a supportive family front, can lead to the child dropping out of school.

For teens who have just immigrated the situation is more complex: Many cultural differences, learning Hebrew and dealing with a whole new social environment – can increase the child’s risk of dropping out of school.

The implications of youth without an educational framework are clear and painful: the rise in the level of violence, the level of crime, and especially their future as adults.

Zivneurim offers a unique and different solution to for dealing with this problem. Through a connection with the sea and the development of small craft skills, we seek to impart values and life skills to these children,  helping them to fully utilize their abilities in other spheres of their lives.

Zivneurim’s Target Population

Zivneurim targets junior-high school students aged 12 – 16, who are on the verge of dropping out.  The groups are heterogeneous with regards to age, length of time in Israel, socio-economic background and religious affiliation.

Statistics show:

  • In children born in Israel versus children  born abroad, it was found out that the rate of dropout among children born abroad was 5.5% versus 4% among children born in Israel.
  • The dropout rate of boys is higher than that of girls.

Some of them suffer from functional difficulties and learning disorders and their parents are unable to support them emotionally and financially. Many of them fail to fit in socially and struggle to keep up academically. Often they have no faith in their potential to change this reality.

Our Model

  • The Sea: The marine environment enables the teens practice team work, deal with uncertainty, perseverance and acquire self esteem through challenge and success.
  • The Social Facilitator: former commandos/ sailors who has strong backgrounds in education. For the youth, the facilitator serves as an anchor, a significant, stable figure that provides a sense of security.
  • The Group: The group activity demands commitment & creates a feeling of belonging.

How participants are chosen

The program serves groups of 15-20 youth at risk, each in different municipal areas. The participants are first screened by the school.  They selects those that are at risk of dropping out. Following this, the participants are invited to one-on-one interview with the Educational coordinator and social facilitator who determine the participant’s adequacy for the program according to defined criteria. In addition we invite the teens’ parents to a presentation about the program since they are going to be part of it as well.

All participants must study at the same school (there are exceptional cases).  Each group meets once or twice a week after school with the social facilitator and they travel to the nearest marine center. Activities include trying out and working with various small craft: boogie boards, wind and wave surf board, kayaks, sailboats, yachts and more.  During the year, two major events are held for all the Zivneurim students in Israel: a challenge event and a summer event at the end of the school year.

Evaluation and Assessment

We put lots of effort to measure our impact. Through pre- and post-questionnaires, completed by the participants, the facilitator and the teaching staff of the school  analyze the effectiveness of the program.

Over 93% of Zivneurim students continue to study within the education system!  All students report that our activity is the most significant activity that helped them face difficulties in school.

We invite you to visit one of our marine centers to see our activities!

Please visit our website: www.zivneurim.org or contact Maya Segal Dgani at:

Tel: 972-3-687-2237

Cell: 972-50-911-4001

Email: mayas [@] zivneurim dot org

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