While visiting AMIT Kfar Blatt Youth Village and AMIT Petach Tikvah Pre-Army Junior College, I met Moshe Uziel, who as a child lived in the youth village with his sister because their mother could not care for them properly. Moshe returned to the campus as the principal of the Junior College after a stint in the army and then completed a degree in engineering at university. His success story represents all the hopes and dreams that one could have for our children in this magical place. Moshe told us that at present there are 16 former residents who are working at Kfar Blatt to “give back” because of their affinity for the place and positive experience.
The campus is quite beautiful and everything needed is here; school, surrogate homes, the Pre-Army Junior College and a community center. The village provides at-risk children with a warm and loving home with surrogate parents. Here, the children receive the support and education they need to succeed in life. “We embody a holistic community where our kids, not only learn academics but are taught life-skills such as how to manage their time and money and interact with society,” said Moshe.
On the campus, there is also a Rehabilitation Center where children with substance dependency issues can get personalized help in an intimate setting. Children enrolled in the program meet with a social worker, a former addict who understands the issues. They also receive personal therapy, art therapy, and participate in vocational workshops. The center uses the 12-step program and currently, 20 teens are enrolled in the program. While I was there, we heard from three boys who all started experimenting with drugs for fun – eventually becoming addicted.
Avi, now 18, started taking drugs at age 15. When he left a different rehab center at age 16 and dropped out of school, he started using and selling harder drugs which ultimately landed him in juvenile detention.
Now, at Kfar Blatt for two years, Avi has obtained his full Bagrut (matriculation degree) and is excited to be going on to the Pre-Army Junior College at Kfar Blatt – an additional two-year program of study and training in auto-tech diagnostics, computers, and secretarial/administrative skills. After graduating the program, Avi will serve in the army.
Avi, just one of many success stories, was able to turn his life around because of the caring and personalized support he received. He is developing important life skills and when he finishes the Junior College, he will have access to good job opportunities and will be able to contribute in a meaningful way to Israeli society.
AMIT funds the entire drug rehab center and programs. It is not supported by any other agency.
Many of the students who graduate from Kfar Blatt High School will continue on to the Pre-Army Junior College. With great pride, Moshe spoke about the Junior College and took us on a tour of The Center for Values, Technology, and Excellence. “Ninety-four percent of the graduates continue on to military service and after their service, many choose to complete a four-year degree in engineering and/or go on to work in the high-tech industries throughout Israel,” said Moshe. “This program prepares the students to enter the army with strong skills, and 70% of the commanders in the military auto-tech units come from AMIT Kfar Blatt Junior College.”
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