Afikim is a nonprofit organization, established about ten years ago, that strives to provide children at-risk in Israel, and their parents, with tools to help them escape the cycle of poverty, first and foremost through education. Afikim’s unique projects include a comprehensive and holistic approach that helps not only the child, but his family as well.
Afikim’s various projects provide the children with nutrition, learning, enrichment and love, which encourage them to succeed and flourish, while at the same time, helps their parents acquire improved parenting skills and adapt to a correct economic lifestyle. The long-term programs, lasting 6 years and even more, give the families fishing rods, and not fish, and help them embark on financial and emotional independence, based on education as a key to success in the modern world.
- Afternoon Learning Centers (Grades 1-6):
Each center is open five days a week and is run by professional teachers and counselors. The children participate in classes, enrichment groups and acquire life skills and values. The children receive two meals a day – a hot, nutritious lunch and a light supper, before returning home. These centers substitute their home environment, and focus not only on risk-prevention, but also on developing each and every child’s potential to succeed and advance towards excellence.
- Afternoon Welfare and Learning Centers (Grades 1-6):
These centers provide for children at-risk under court orders to remain in their homes and still to receive much needed treatment and help with homework in the afternoons, like the Learning Centers (section 1). Afikim also provides holistic therapy to the entire family, in emotional treatment and ongoing follow-up sessions with social workers (participation in the Afikim program is officially recognized by the welfare department as a positive alternative to removing a child from his home and community to foster care).
- Learning Centers (Grades 7-12):
These centers focus on providing educational and emotional assistance, with the goal of helping students obtain a full matriculation certificate, which is vital for success in the work market. Older students (Grades 11-12) also receive guidance, in anticipation of their recruitment to the IDF, with most Afikim graduates serving in combat units. All centers are open 3-4 days a week and are operated by professional teachers and counselors.
- Parent Empowering Centers:
These centers provide professional guidance and consultations to parents of Afikim children. The programs including bi-weekly meetings with professionals, involving guidance sessions, cultural and social activities, streamlined family support and, mainly, workshops in sensible economic planning and behavior.
Afikim’s Graduates Program:
Afikim’s first cohort of graduates will complete their army service in 2017, mainly in combat units. Many aspire to study in institutions of higher education, despite the lack of financial means and that they are the first in their families to achieve such a feat. Afikim’s Graduates’ Program is run by a professional counselor who guides the youngsters through the application and acceptance processes. Afikim also offers students scholarships, helps pay for psychometric courses, etc. In return, Afikim graduates volunteer at the centers in which they participated and help create positive models for emulation by the younger Afikim children.