Want to make a difference in the lives of Israeli teens? Consider joining Israel Connect, a program where local volunteers connect online, one-on-one, via Zoom (a video conferencing app), with Israeli high school students who want to improve their English conversation and reading skills. The program starts at the end of October and is sponsored by Chabad Richmond. It entails a half-hour per week commitment.
“We’re looking for volunteer retirees, seniors or adults with flexible schedules. No previous tutoring experience is necessary and the curriculum is provided,” said Shelley Civkin, local coordinator of the program.
“We’re looking for Jewish adults who are fluent English speakers, have basic computer skills and own a computer with a camera,” said Civkin. Volunteers can do this from home and technical support is available if needed. Time preferences of volunteers will be coordinated beforehand and sessions take place in the morning between 7 and 11 a.m. any day from Sunday to Thursday. Volunteers will be trained in how to download and use Zoom.
“It’s a very meaningful, practical way for community members to support Israel,” said Rabbi Yechiel Baitelman of Chabad Richmond. “You’ll be doing a mitzvah, while investing in Israel and its young people. Plus, good English skills will give them an advantage in accessing post-secondary education and getting better jobs.
“English proficiency is crucial to Israeli students, since it accounts for a third of their entrance exam marks for university,” he added. “Partnering with the Israeli Ministry of Education, the Israel Connect program targets teens from disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Israel. The tutoring sessions are vital to students’ upward mobility in terms of education and jobs, which is why this program is so vital.”
“Most volunteers really enjoy helping their Israeli students and make great connections with them. It often goes beyond simply tutoring the curriculum and turns into friendship and mentorship,” said Civkin. “This kind of one-on-one tutoring makes a significant difference in their lives, both educationally and personally. It’s hard to estimate the impact of this tutoring on Israeli youth, but we know it’s significant. And it’s incredibly satisfying to know that you’re doing something concrete to help Israeli students improve their lives. Several tutors have visited their students on trips to Israel, and keep in touch beyond just the school year. Building relationships is an integral and highly satisfying part of this program.”
For more information, contact Civkin at 604-789-5806 or [email protected].