Leumi's Community Activities
"Youth Leading Change"
Friday, July 1, 2011 marked the closing event for the “Youth Leading Change-Aharai (Follow Me) Association”, an event celebrating the conclusion of a positive and prosperous year of the Aharai association’s activities. The milestone event took place on Mount Herzel, in the Jerusalem area, in the presence of Brigadier General, Orna Barbivay.
The trainees arrived at the event after a grueling overnight stretcher-bearing march, accompanied by Leumi employees. The students were welcomed by Bank Leumi chairman, Mr. David Brodet, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, President of the Fellowship Fund and Israeli Knesset member, Zevulun Orlev, as well as Omer Bar Lev, the Association's chairperson and members of the management committee – Inter alia, Major General (reserve), Yoram Yair, Raya Strauss and Shlomo Tisser, among others.
Leumi has supported the "Youth Leading Change-Aharai" Association since 2002. The “Youth Leading Change” Association is a registered nonprofit organization, initially established in 1997 with a goal of nurturing young leaders, in order to encourage social involvement amongst youth. Youth participants hail from developing towns, absorption centers and boarding schools, and are at a pivotal crossroad in life, at which point their futures can be directly affected by education. Students and youths are eligible for participating in the “Aharai” program from the age of 14 until 25, when they begin integrating into the State of Israel as fully contributing members of society.
The association’s mission statement and overall purpose is to instill a sense of success and capability in youth, out of a belief that each and every person has the ability to conduct their life as an equal citizen in the State of Israel-regardless of one’s birthplace or environment in which one was raised. The various projects illustrate to the youths that change is entirely possible through the vehicle of direct community involvement. The Association operates via 170 community service channels, located across the country, which benefit approximately 4,500 youths.
Students can join the “Aharai” movment at as early as 14 years of age, as part of the field and patrol program, the "Aharai patrol". At the age of 17 they can advance to the "Aharai IDF" project, which advances them towards active service in the IDF, the Israel Defense Forces.
Additionally, those students who are not eligible for matriculation examinations by the State Educational System can participate in Leumi’s “Aharai Learning Centers". Such learning centers were established through the initiative of Bank Leumi, who wanted to expand the educational activities of the "Youth Leading Change" Association, in light of the success of the "IDF Aharai" project. The learning centers provide enrichment in the fields of mathematics and English language.
At the end of students’ 12th grade year, high-school graduates can participate in various “Aharai” continuation programs such as:
- The “Aharai Community service year” program
- “Gal” - the pre-army preparatory course
- After graduating from the “Aharai” program, graduates receive continuous assistance via “Aharai’s” Graduate Organization.
Honors Bestowed Onto the "Youth Leading Change"
- 2009–The "Knights of Quality Government” Award was bestowed onto the “Aharai” Association by the Movement for Quality Government in Israel, in recognition of “Aharai’s” contribution in the areas of education and social work in the State of Israel. “Aharai” was also recognized in the arena of encouraging youth involvement in Israeli society, and for encouraging leadership skills amongst youth.
- 2010–The President's Award for Volunteer work contributing to the benefit of Israeli society.
- 2010–The Minister of Absorption's Shield, for those volunteers who excelled at absorbing and integrating recent immigrants into Israeli society
- 2011–For his active involvement in the “Aharai” Association, chairman Omer Bar Lev was bestowed the honor of lighting the beacon during Israel's Independence Day 2011 State Ceremony .