“If you want to do something which will help Israeli youth, I highly recommend working with the Miftan centers. Furthermore, these centers do not receive help from anyone in the private sector.”
Those were the challenging words of Dr. Menahem Horowitz, who was at that time Director of all the institutions for youth in Israel, in 1983. Dr. Horowitz’s guidance was the direction I needed and led me to the development of our organization, Friends of Miftanim. We have since provided assistance to all the Miftanim schools throughout Israel; and continue our commitment and devotion to this remarkable program.
As a new immigrant in the 80’s who had recently arrived from California, and as a social worker in protective services for youth who had worked in Los Angeles for the Department of Public Social Services, it was easy to envision where I could best be of service to Israel. Since childhood, it had always been my fervent belief that it is what you can contribute in the way of your individual skills; what you can do, that can make a difference. In my newly adopted country, I experienced that no other country does as much for their youth as does Israel.
Working with the existing 34 Miftan centers therefore became my goal as it represented preventive work at its finest. These centers gave youth-at-risk a viable second chance. They gave these youths the reason to look forward to a positive future. It provided the tools by which the Miftan students can achieve a future when they work toward it in a positive way. Each child is recognized as being special and is shown how to capitalize that uniqueness through rehabilitation, realistic goals, and individualized programs. Here are the resources for prevention.
In the 20 years plus since the establishment of Friends of Miftanim, the membership of volunteers has grown. Volunteering remains a fulfilling endeavor as it is derived from the heart without expected remuneration.
The government especially realizes the growing need for volunteers in order to augment their work and to help alleviate budget deficits. And importantly, being a member of Friends of Miftanim has given immigrants as well as Vatikim [Veterans] a golden opportunity to participate and play an integral part in the future of their beloved country. Members experience together a special camaraderie as they share the same dreams of a better life for the kids who face the difficulties of being a troubled youth.
Frances Frey, Founder
Friends of Miftanim