"Zahala" is a national wide voluntary coaching project for promoting and preparing youth for better citizenship and social involvement."
Zahala was established by Mr. Ran Ronen (Peker), high rank officer and one of the leading pilots of the Israeli Air Force. In summer of 1992, returning to Israel after completing his mission as Israeli Consoler in Los-Angeles, initiated a new educational program of leading groups of young boys from an High School in Jaffa between the 9th grade till their graduating and recruiting to the Army.
Following the success of this program, Mr. Ronnen had applied to his acquaintances to follow this example and take more groups under their coaching.
As for today, there are more than 70 Zahala groups in more than 55 high schools all around Israel, from Eilat in the south to Tiberias and Galilee in the north.
Each group has its own volunteering instructor who meets the youngsters once a week, tutoring and coaching them for a period of 4 years.
During the meetings, they are involved in discussing subjects as: friendship; love and giving for the other; our right to live in Israel, importance of serving the country as a soldier; as well as day trips to historical and heritage sites.
The vision of Zahala: to activate 250 groups all around Israel with 5,000 youngsters, and by that to achieve substantial change in the society of Israel.
The spirit of Zahala: volunteering activity which is based upon leadership skills and the will to give by presenting personal examples.
The goals of Zahala:
1. Education of Values, Zionism and the love of Israel.
2. Fostering tolerance and social involvement.
3. Cultivating leadership and caring for others.
4. Teaching good citizenship.
The core of the project are the volunteers themselves, most of them are high rank, retired Israeli Army Officers, who devote their free time for this important goal.
In most of the cases, the activity of Zahala causes a substantial change in the behavior of the youngsters which is followed with their achievements in school.
Zahala is managed by a small volunteered group of devoted people experienced as group instructors.
Following are some of the activities and achievements of recent years:
a. Receiving "Iga'l Alon's Award for pioneer outstanding achievement".
The award was granted to "Zahala Project" at a moving ceremony with the presence of Mr. E. Weitzman, ex. President of the State of Israel. and hundreds of dignities.
On the award certificate the following is written: "The award is given to Zahala, a youth coaching project and for the tens volunteering instructors who grant complementary education for hundreds of youngsters coming from a needed society, fostering them for good citizenship and transforming them into vital contributors to the country."
The award was received in the name of Zahala, by Mr. Ran Ronnen (Peker), founder of Zahala with Tzachi Barooch & Oshrat Swissa, two of Zahala graduates and by Shauel Kremer & Dina Lahav, two of Zahala volunteers.
b. "Marching of the Living" Mission in Poland.
One of the most substantial activities of Zahala Project is the participation in the March of Living mission of the Israel Education Ministry - acknowledgement journey, familiarizing the youth with the Holocaust of the European Jews between the years 1939 to 1945.
During the journey the youngsters learn about one of the most horrible eras of the Jewish history by visiting the remains of the flourish community that used to live in Poland for more than 1,000 years, to visit the cities of Warsaw, Lublin & Krakow and seeing up close the Death Camps of Awashvitz, Meidaneck, Birkenau and Treblinka and listen to the witnessing of the survivals.
The mission is funded by grants of the Israeli Education Ministry, Donors' contributions and the payment of the youngsters themselves.
c. Hosting the students and their instructors in the House of the President of Israel and in the Israeli Knesset (Parliament).
Once a year, there is an assembly of all Zahala members. The gathering gives the opportunity for all the groups from all over the country to get aquatinted with their friends and meet some of the Israeli Leaders.
During 2002, the Zahala members were hosted by Mr. Moshe Katzav, the President of the State of Israel. During 2003 the members were hosted by the Chairman of the Israeli Knesset.
Both of these dignities emphasized the importance of Zahala Project particularly in this difficult time and warmly praised the activities of the volunteers.
d. Dispensing of 250 personal computers.
250 P.C.s have been given to needed Zahala pupils and to needed schools. The computers were donated by American Donors who supplied computers including Hebrew Software.
For most of the youngsters, it was their only opportunity to posses a personal computer at home, and feels like average teen-agers.
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