Maccabim in the Train Station Neighborhood of Lod

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Maccabim in the Train Station Neighborhood of Lod

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$1 million - $5 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We teach at-risk Arab children athletic, academic, and social skills that will bolster their positive development and promote inclusion in Israeli society. Maccabim works with strategic partners like Maccabi Tel Aviv soccer team and local municipalities and police force to increase the influence on the children's lives, surroundings, and community.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

For years, Arab-Israeli citizens have been denied a multitude of social, educational, and economic opportunities. A largely marginalized and neglected sector of Israeli society, Arabs do not have equal access to government funds and services that are integral to maintaining stable infrastructures like schools, health care, and social services. As a result, most Arab communities throughout Israel suffer from poverty, high unemployment rates, elevated levels of crime and drug abuse, and shocking school drop-out rates.The “Train Station Neighborhood” is an enclosed area of Lod, a city composed of highly segregated minority neighborhoods. Built alongside the railroad tracks that run through the city, the "Train Station Neighborhood” is inhabited by 95% Muslim-Arabs and 5% Christian-Arabs. Poverty and insufficient government support have resulted in a hazardous living environment for the people of this disadvantaged community. Open sewage lines, decrepit buildings, and a lack of social or recreational activities for the children of this neighborhood are only minor examples of the effects that government neglect has had on this population.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The positive effects of athletic programs are especially relevant for children living in at-risk communities, like Lod’s "Train Station" neighborhood. We afford the children of this particularly disadvantaged neighborhood with a safe, structured after-school enrichment program. The activities keep children off the streets, where they are exposed to a high level of crime and violence, and instead cultivate self-discipline, social skills, self-esteem, and life-coping mechanisms. In particular, we use a unique and holistic combination of sports, technology, education, and nutrition to help the children and ensure long-lasting change.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The "Maccabim in the Train Station Neighborhood" in Lod has proved very successful in influencing and improving the lives of its participants and the entire community. The activities keep children off the streets and under adult supervision, decreasing their exposure to violence and crime. The football activities have helped to foster a feeling of belonging and positive traits such as responsibility, team work and self discipline. In addition, the educational aspect has proven to improve grades and enhance confidence in the school environment and the social empowerment aspect has created a significant change in the behavior of participants in school and at home. On a wider scale, parents have become more involved in their children's lives and have become more of a positive and constructive role model. This change has a positive effect on the family and community atmosphere. Another change is the community's attitude towards the Lod police force, which has improved dramatically as a result of the cooperation with Maccabim and the help and assistance we got from them in cleaning up the football field and keeping the children safe during their activities. The combination of sports, education, nutrition and social empowerment has proved to be very successful in implementing long term, significant change among the participating children and the entire community. The children, and the impact the program has had on their lives, have become positive role models within the community, proving that even in this downtrodden area there is a possibility of tangible, long term and significant change.
About You
The Maccabim Association - Education and Soccer in the Community
Section 1: About You
First Name


Last Name



The Maccabim Association


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Section 2: About Your Organization
Organization Name

The Maccabim Association - Education and Soccer in the Community

Organization Phone


Organization Address

106 Derech Ben Zvi; P.O.B 12069; Tel Aviv, Israel

Organization Country

, C

Your idea
Country your work focuses on

, C

Website URL
Do you have a patent for this idea?


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.

How many people will your project serve annually?


What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

$100 ‐ 1000

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy?

What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

In what country?

, C

Is your initiative connected to an established organization?


If yes, provide organization name.

The Maccabim Association - Education and Soccer in the Community

How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?


Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

The Maccabim Association partners with the Lod municipality, the Lod police force, and 3 local schools. The municipality ensures that we have the necessary facilities in order to operate the program, such as the football field. The schools monitor the improvement of the children and have a close relationship with the instructors and parents. The police force ensures the safety and security of the children during their participation.
Maccabim also partners with two non-profits:
The Rosh Pina Mainstreaming Network cultivates active listening, acceptance, and decision-making skills through their "Kaleidoscope" approach in order to alleviate violence and improve academic achievement among children.
Machshava Tova is dedicated to using technology to bridge Israel’s social gaps. They supply us with computer teachers and equipment for the technological aspect of the program.
All these partnerships together are what makes the program so unique and significant, by dealing with all the aspects of development and enabling the monitoring and implementation of the program's impact in all aspects of the participants' lives and in the community in general.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

The first action that is needed is creating new strategic partnerships, both in Israel and abroad, so that Maccabim can widen its activity scope, help more people and have a larger impact on Israeli society.
The second action required is the raising of funds in the long and short term for our different programs, so that we can operate them and expand their influence.
The third action is to create an organizational steering committee that will help evaluate and direct our organization, enabling us to expand our long term vision and goals.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

About 5 years ago, the situation in Lod's Train Station Neighborhood reached its worst period of crime ever. Drugs and violence had become a way of life, with everyone - young and old - involved and affected. Children were used as couriers to traffic drugs and accept payments. "ATM machines" were the terms used for the holes in walls through which drugs and money passed hands.
At this point, Lod's municipality and police turned the the Maccabim Association, asking for help in cleaning up the neighborhood, renovating the soccer field, and creating a healthy framework for the local children. Coincidentally, at the time of the program's inception, there was an Arab soccer player, Salem Abu-Siyam, who actually came from Lod's Train Station neighborhood and could serve as a role model for the neighborhood children and an effective way of marketing the program. Thus, "Maccabim in the Train Station Neighborhood" was born.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

The innovation was lead by Efi Toledano, then director of Maccabim Association, and Eli Dricks, the CEO of Maccabi Tel Aviv soccer team. Both Efi and Eli shared the goal of using soccer's popularity to initiate social change.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Web Search (e.g., Google or Yahoo)

If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company

50 words or fewer