The Azrieli Foundation's Institute for Educational Empowerment is a unique program of study and support for junior high school students (grades 7-9) who are at high risk of becoming hidden or actual drop-outs from school.
The program targets children with the lowest scores in the class, usually showing social or emotional problems. Participants meet 2-3 times a week after school, and also receive reinforcement during the morning school hours. Based on the principle that "Each pupil is a world," the program addresses three main issues:
- Academic success is achieved by accelerated studies to close educational gaps, focusing mainly on core subjects – English, Math, and Hebrew Language;
- Social skills are developed through enrichment activities designed to encourage personal empowerment, interpersonal communication, leadership and community involvement;
- Parents participate in the process with workshops in which they learn methods for understanding and assisting their teenage children.
Launched in Be'er Sheva in 2004, the program has expanded gradually to other locations in Israel's periphery, reaching altogether more than 1,000 students: Carmiel, Acco and Ma'alot in the north, and Eilat, Kiryat, Malachi, Dimona and Ofakim in the south. After helping to establish the program over the last 5 years, we no longer fund it but continue to run the different centers through our operating arms, as a service to the Azrieli Foundation.
The construction project
The Azrieli Foundation, UIA Canada and Rashi have partnered in the construction of a custom-designed building for the program in Be'er Sheva, which was dedicated in November 2009. The striking structure, built under the management of the Rashi Foundation, is now the flagship of the Azrieli network of institutes.