Friends by Nature – Community Empowerment
Friends by Nature (FBN) – Community Empowerment is a non-profit Israeli organization established in 2005 by a diverse group of Ethiopian-Israelis and veteran Israelis, secular and religious, all committed to multiculturalism, helping youth at-risk and the success of immigrant communities in Israel. FBN runs programs for at-risk Ethiopian-Israeli youth and their families – focusing on developing young leadership, increasing volunteerism, civil society, community renewal, strengthening the family unity, and increasing a connection to the land of Israel.
FBN implements a “Community Garin” holistic approach: Successful Ethiopian-Israelis (young families and young adults) move back into at-risk neighborhoods, form groups of idealistic activists, and assume social-educational responsibility in the community.
FBN provides Neighborhood Summer Camps for Ethiopian Israeli children and other youth in their neighborhoods during the month of August, filling kids’ long summer days with fun and meaningful activity.
The Garin members also operate activities such as “Homework- At Home!” an effective home-tutoring program that creates a positive learning environment at home, the Youth Center, Community Gardening, as well as working closely with the Gedera Regional High School.
FBN results include:
-After two years of FBN programming, high school dropout rates by grade 12 decreased to ZERO, where previously the dropout rate was nearly 80%.
- The local police report ZERO calls by the high school, where previously there was at least one call per week due to violence involving Ethiopian-Israeli youth.
- Magen David Adom has reported ZERO calls related to youth violence from the Shapira neighborhood in the past 2 years, while before they reported 6 such call every 24 hours!
- FBN has developed enthusiastic young leadership who take responsibility for their communities.
- FBN has copied the model to a total of 8 communities: Gedera, Kiryat Gat, Yavne, Be’er-Sheva, Beit-Shemesh, Netivot, Ashkelon and Rishon Le-Zion.