Programs & Activities

The IACC’s Major Activities 

1. Early Childhood and Parenting 

A wide range of activities for babies, toddlers and their parents are offered at IACC centers throughout the country, with a special focus on disadvantaged families. A prominent example is the Kat-Gan and Family Guidance program. This innovative and successful program, which serves disadvantaged veteran Israelis and new immigrants alike in over twenty centers throughout Israel, aims to ease the entry of mothers and children into the Israeli economy and educational system. The program offers families the opportunity to enroll their 2 to 3 year old children in a three day per week, four hour per day educational framework. This both prepares the children to attend full-week pre-kindergarten programs and frees their mothers to seek employment outside the home. In addition, Family Guidance Centers offer families a range of integrated services, including programs that are culturally appropriate to the family’s ethnic group and designed to empower parents to give their children the enrichment and support they need to succeed in Israeli educational frameworks. 

2. Education 

Education for At-Risk Children 

The IACC offers educational programs for all ages, from early childhood through adulthood. PELE is a holistic and comprehensive after-school educational enrichment program for children identified by their schools as at risk of dropping out. It comprises lessons in academic subjects and social enrichment outside the “classroom.” PELE’s learning centers reach out to immigrant youth from Ethiopia, the Caucasus and Bukhara, and to Arab and Jewish children in impoverished communities. In communities such as these, the percentage of young people who pass the Bagrut (matriculation) examinations required for acceptance to institutions of higher education is extremely low. For example, the matriculation rates in Sderot and Ofakim, poor towns in Israel’s south, are 44 and 39 percent, respectively; among Bedouin children, the rate is only 28 percent. Since its inception eleven years ago, it has served approximately 70,000 elementary, junior high and high school students in more than 80 community centers across Israel. Eighty seven percent of PELE participants who have taken have passed them. Where PELE has worked with students on all of their academic subjects, about 70 percent have received full Bagrut certificates.

The Youth Coordinator Training Program for Young Women’s Economic Empowerment will train a group of female youth coordinators and counselors working in community centers throughout the country to form "economic empowerment groups" for adolescent girls at particular risk of remaining in the cycle of poverty. These groups will provide the girls with both the self-confidence and the skills needed to initiate and operate a small business, and allow them to test their new skills in a practical framework. In this way, they will be able to prove to themselves that they have the potential to succeed as women in the economic arena. The training for the coordinators will consist of a theoretical course and a practicum. The course will examine the status of women and social policy in Israel; train the participants as project leaders, trainers and counselors; and provide them with specific business knowledge and skills that they will then pass on to the girls. In the practicum the participants will, in turn, empower groups of adolescent girls both emotionally and economically, through programs combining female self-image workshops, an entrepreneurship course, and practical business projects.  

3. Women’s Empowerment 

The IACC’s programs for women enable them to complete their basic education, receive professional training, and develop leadership skills. In 2003, the IACC is planning to offer a new and innovative economic empowerment program for women - the Single Mothers’ Entrepreneurship Development Program. This program aims to provide single mothers with the self-confidence, knowledge, and skills to start and manage their own small businesses, thus enabling them to break out of the poverty to which their situation has condemned them and become economically self-sufficient. In contrast to most professional training programs, this program will not only teach the women the technical skills required to establish and run a small business, but will also focus on their personal growth and empowerment. It will serve both single mothers who wish to start their own small business and those who have recently started a business and need assistance and support in their endeavor.  

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4. The Advancement of Women's Health in Israel – Cleveland Program 

In 2003, in sixteen localities scattered all over the country, 288 women participated in women’s health advancement courses provided by the Israel Association of Community Centers. Funded by the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, the courses are aimed to empower and develop women leadership in the community by providing them with leadership skills and knowledge in women’s health. In 2004-2005 the program will encompass 15 additional localities. 

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5. Jewish Renaissance 

Israeli Jews are experiencing an identity crisis. Many new immigrants, much of the younger generation, and even senior veteran Israelis either know little about or do not feel connected to Judaism and Jewish tradition. Yet these individuals feel a part of the Jewish people and want and need to define their Jewish identity and commitment to Israel in a significant social and cultural way. In response to this need, the IACC’s Jewish Renaissance Project offers programs that aim to help Israelis develop a Jewish identity that is relevant and meaningful to them, regardless of their background. These dynamic programs allow participants to discover and experience the richness of Jewish tradition in an egalitarian, pluralistic and accepting atmosphere.

Activities include: 

  • Evening study sessions on Jewish sources and their contemporary relevance. 

  • Courses in Judaism and Jewish culture for new immigrants from the FSU. 

  • Programs exploring Jewish-Israeli identity. 

  • Jewish holiday celebrations in a pluralistic, open-minded atmosphere.

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6. Community Development and Volunteerism 

Shalem, a Hebrew acronym for “National Service for Adults,” recruits and trains Israelis who have taken early retirement and engages them in volunteer activities assisting disadvantaged populations by contributing their expertise in a variety of social and economic fields. The movement is rooted in a deep belief in the value of volunteerism both for the volunteer and for the community. It expresses this commitment by engaging volunteers in activities aimed at alleviating the increasingly severe economic situation in which larger and larger numbers of Israelis find themselves. Currently, over 3,000 retirees volunteer their services in the Shalem framework, in 60 communities throughout the country, in such fields as education; social welfare assistance; immigrant absorption; and health, safety and the environment. They also provide business consultation in economically depressed areas, and serve as mediators in community conflicts. 

Read more on the Shalem website

7. Senior Citizens 

Senior Leadership provides leadership training to senior citizens in five or six carefully chosen communities all located in the same IACC district, aiming to develop leaders on both the district and the local levels. In a widening circle of impact, a group ten to fifteen seniors participates in a district-wide leadership program providing participants with a variety of leadership skills such as group building; organizational development; taking leadership; community building; strategic planning for promoting issues and programs in the community; and marketing and resource development. These participants then return to their communities to help build larger local senior leadership groups, and each local leadership group initiates and implements at least one practical project impacting additional older people in its community. Examples of these projects include leisure centers for seniors and early retirees; economic initiatives to benefit disadvantaged populations; and local environmental awareness programs.

Senior Citizens’ Colleges are academic programs in which seniors may either continue their education or make up the education they did not receive when they were younger. Participants attend two or three lectures one day a week, for a total of four hours. The lectures’ subjects are chosen by a local steering committee, which includes educators and representatives of the program’s participants. At present, ­­ten Senior Citizens’ Colleges are operated in IACC community centers throughout Israel, less than a third of the number needed to make the program accessible to all Israeli seniors. Their students, including many who had previously spent all their time at home or caring for their grandchildren, make sure to attend the lectures with great regularity, and express great enthusiasm for the opportunity to engage in challenging intellectual activity. 

Golden Nature, a health education program sponsored in part by the Teva pharmaceutical company, aims to raise senior citizens’ awareness of steps that they may take to stay healthy and independent. The program consists of five consecutive three-hour sessions.Each session includes an interactive lecture on a health-related subject, a period of physical activity, and a nutritious, healthful breakfast. In addition, the participants visit the Jerusalem Science Museum’s exhibition on the subject of medications. Wise Nutrition aims to educate seniors to chose, prepare and consume food in a way that will positively impact their quality of life. Each Wise Nutritionprogram serves between fifteen and twenty participants, and comprises eight three-hour sessions. Each session includes a lecture and a meal cooked by the participants on the basis of what they have learned.  

8. Sports and Healthy Living

  • Sports activities take place in 95% of community centers. 
  • 60% of community center activities are in sports.
  • The majority of community centers have a Sports Coordinator, full or part-time.
  • About 80 centers are the sole agent of the sports community and the community center's sports coordinator serves as the sports department in that settlement.

The department's areas of activity: training through courses and seminars, sports coordinators and instructors who initiate, support and assist projects and programs in sports and healthy lifestyle, gatherings and sporting events and collaborations with other organizations.

The department leads joint projects in health promotion and sports with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Senior Citizens, the Ministry of Culture and Sports, Eshel (JDC), the Sports Association, the Association of Cardiologists, the pharmaceutical company - Pfizer, the Ministry of Education and more.

 

Other Areas of Activity 

Cultural Awareness 

Promotion of various cultures through social and cultural activities and language skills development by immersion of children and youth in the “Kefiada” and in summer camps.

Arts and Culture 

Programs in art, cinema, theater, musical groups and exhibitions of local and national artists.

Absorption 

Assistance in social absorption of immigrants through Hebrew language Ulpans, integration and empowerment programs and tours to get to know the country.

Coexistence and Dialogue 

Promotion of tolerance between the religious and secular Jewish population, and peaceful coexistence between the Jewish and non-Jewish population.

International Relations 

Professional and youth educational exchange programs; involvement in worldwide professional networking.

Study Centers 

Minimizing the high school drop-out rate through individual enrichment and preparation for the transitions to junior high and high school.

Community Development 

Strengthening the mechanisms of individual and group processes aimed at personal, group and community empowerment.

Media and Communication 

Acting on the challenge to place communities on both sides of the lens; training the public to participate in the media through local newspapers and TV.

Education for Science and Technology

Creating training programs in technological areas to address the needs of the work force.

National Heritage 

Expanding the knowledge of Israel, Zionism and Jewish traditions.

Vocational Training and Adult Education

Providing opportunities for adults to complete their education (from basic schooling to high school diploma and professional training).

Recreation for the Rights of the Disabled

In partnership with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) seeking to integrate the disabled into the community at large, improving physical conditions at national and historic facilities and promoting rights of children with special education needs. 

Training Department

Aimed and professional development of the IACC staff, the Training Department issues periodical newsletters, and also maintains a thorough database encompassing all areas of the IACC's activities. This database is available to all staff members around the country.


Other Programming Areas 

In addition to the programming areas mentioned above, the IACC conducts programs in the areas of special needs populations; crisis intervention; coexistence and dialogue; immigrant absorption; arts and culture; media and communications; and sports and health. We would be pleased to send a description of the programs offered in any area that is of special interest to a particular funder.

The IACC has proven its effectiveness in offering solutions to all segments of the rich mosaic that is Israeli society, in accordance with each community’s needs. It seeks funding partners that will enable it to expand its vital and proven programs to additional communities and additional participants within each community.