In Israeli high schools, every 10thgrade student is required to undertake 60 hours of volunteer work for the community. This laudable program has the potential cultivate students’ involvement in society, develop their awareness of social problems, and deepen their ability to think about such issues. Yet to date a dire lack of resources has severely limited the national program’s capacity to deliver on its goals; many students complete the required volunteer hours purely perfunctorily and others finish their school year without having volunteered at all. 'Bishvil', the brainchild of a handful of Israeli young adults committed to the value of volunteerism, aims to assist Israeli high schools in realizing the tremendous potential of the national program for the benefit of students and of Israeli society as a whole.
A two-year framework, Bishvil pairs participating high schools with a cadre of carefully selected university students who serve as facilitators to students within the high school volunteerism program. In year one, facilitators spearhead weekly discussions with 9thgrade students on a range of issues facing Israeli society and expose students to a variety of inspiring individuals, organizations and initiatives tackling these issues. In year two, facilitators guide 10thgrade students in their volunteer hours by continuing to convene weekly sessions that focus on students’ volunteer areas – poverty, the disabled, the elderly, or migrant workers – and provide a framework for processing, sharing and personal growth.
In 2013-2014, 20 students from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem are serving as facilitators with Bishvil, and the program is partnering with an impressive number of entities including: Ein Prat – The Midrasha, the Jerusalem Botanical Garden, Ruach- Hadashah – New Spirit, the Shahaf Foundation, Yuvalim Community Administration, the Ministry of Education, the Youth and Society Administration, and the Education Authority of Jerusalem.
With modest funding, Bishvil can leverage an existing opportunity within the Israeli educational system for the tremendous benefit of society. These benefits include: Equipping high school students with a meaningful, empowering experience of social involvement; developing university students’ ability to lead; nurturing the ranks of volunteers serving Israel’s National Volunteer Service; strengthening nonprofits through more effective youth volunteer; and enhancing the threads of compassion, solidarity and social responsibility that weave together a vibrant, healthy society.
Potential investors are invited to learn more about Bishvil by contacting us at: firstname.lastname@example.org