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Mentoring Program Tackles New Challenge: Troubled Teenagers from Dysfunctional Families

 Lotte Katz z”l Mentoring Program Tackles New Challenge

Last December, the community center in an ultra-orthodox section of Jerusalem contacted Kav L’Noar and requested that we assume responsibility for supervising the mentoring relationships for a group of 25 very troubled teenagers. The community consists mainly of ba’alei teshuva who largely come from highly dysfunctional backgrounds, raised in homes where violence, instability or gross neglect were common. Some served time in jail and the effects of such a traumatic past linger. To this day, many remain unable to cope with normal life. Our Community Mentoring Supervisor, Mrs. Sima Gordon, following an extensive search, hired Yisrael Wolpin to supervise this new project. Yisrael reports that the teens of the community are living in conditions of shocking poverty. “Some of the teens never change clothes because they don’t own even a second set and are living with no food in the house and don’t wash because there is no functional shower. In addition, many are emotionally neglected because their parents are either out of the country or have serious problems.” Many parents did not experience loving, nurturing caregivers themselves, so are unable to provide that for their children. As a result, their children are often being raised by an older sibling and suffer both from major emotional deficits and the effects of not having basic physical needs met. The good news is that with Kav L’Noar’s unique methods of gentle intervention, using carefully selected mentors to model stable and healthy relationships and provide ongoing emotional support, we are already seeing a real difference for the 25 teens with whom we are working. The local authorities are pleased that Kav L’Noar has managed to break through the community’s natural hostility and suspicion of external agencies and that such positive results can already be seen after only a few months. Kav L’Noar is receiving a grant from the National Council of Youth at Risk whose funds cover 40% of the program cost. The balance of the budget is our responsibility. There are many more boys who could benefit greatly from this program who are currently on a list waiting to join when funding becomes available. Every donation helps Kav L’Noar make a difference for this very needy community. YOU can join us in turning many negative challenges these youth are facing into positive opportunities for the future.

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