The "Maccabim in the Train Station Neighborhood" program was established in 2005 through a cooperative effort of the Lod police and Maccabim Association. Together with the Lod police, Maccabim rebuilt the neighborhood soccer field and introduced an after-school activities framework. Over the years, we have utilized our strategic partnerships with Maccabi Tel Aviv football team and the Lod municipality and police force in order to influence and help more children and better this neglected community. Over the past five years, Maccabim has been successful in nurturing at-risk Arab children and ensuring their safe and healthy development. These children undergo a positive transformation through our athletic, social, and academic programs.
Within the framework of the project, the children participate in soccer activities and receive computer training and two hot meals weekly. The program’s educational aspect includes teaching basic computer skills that will help participants integrate into today's world and improve their chances of a better future – both individual and communal. In addition, participants enjoy tournaments, trips, and other supplementary activities.
Following the program's completion every year, Maccabim evaluates the outcomes and results of the project. The evaluation found significant educational improvement after only one year; the children’s grades rose an average of 15% in subjects such as Arabic and math.
Behavior improved at school and on the soccer field, and the children’s level of soccer playing also rose, greatly enhancing their feelings of pride and self-worth. An evaluation of behavioral-emotional aspects also indicated marked improvement.
Relations between participants and their parents improved, and parental involvement in the children's lives increased significantly. Parents also started to communicate with one another through the children's activities, strengthening community ties and positive relations.
What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.
"Maccabim in the Train Station Neighborhood" is a project that has been running successfully for a number of years. However, we are seeking to further its impact over the next three years on a number of levels:
Widening the scope - Maccabim is becoming more and more popular in the Train Station neighborhood, due to the success and tangible change it has brought. Families and children approach us in order to participate, and we are currently working to enlarge the number of people served, and accept everyone who wants to participate into the program.
During these three years we will also be seeking to expand the scope of activities, adding an additional social empowerment framework or extracurricular activity, in order to expand the impact of the program.
The third aspect that will further the program's success is the partnerships and cooperation with the various organizations which complete the framework of the program; the Lod police force, municipality, schools and other nonprofit organizations. Each of these organizations covers a different aspect of the program, and furthering our cooperation with them will improve the project itself and its influence on the community.
What would prevent your project from being a success?
The project has been running for a number of years and is organizationally and structurally secure. The only major barrier to success would be financial difficulties: we rely on fund-raising for our budget and if we are unable to raise the necessary funds, we would be unable to continue the project.