Ulpanat Dolev, Israel—And they said it couldn’t be done… Some girls in Israel are products of dysfunctional families and subjected to emotional or physical abuse. They find it difficult to fit into mainstream society. As a result, they sometimes drop out of high school, often get into trouble and end up with a criminal record.
But there is hope for a better future for them at Ulpanat Dolev in Dolev near Modiin. Among the beautiful hillsof the tribe of Binyamin, is a school and treatment center for 120 at-risk girls who benefit from a warm, nurturing community and professional staff who motivate them to succeed.
Since 1988, the Dolev community and school Ulpanat Dolev developed a national project to rehabilitate hundreds of such girls through an individualized curriculum, personal treatment and vocational studies to “bring them back from the brink.”
The ulpana is the “mother” project of Dolev Homes for Youth at Risk which recently annexed 11 mirror projects in Ashdod and a home for high school graduates in Modiin. Now Dolev Homes for Youth mentor over 450 youths at-risk all over Israel.
Recently, Minister of Education Rabbi Shai Peron congratulated Ilan Biton, Headmaster of Ulpanat Dolev, for receiving the National Award for Excellence in Education, the highest education award in Israel, for the program’s success in changing the fabric of Israeli society for the better for the last 25 years.
Another “feather in its cap” came from a very different direction. Two years ago, Yoram Akua, the Police Commander of the local Binyamin Area division, came to the ulpana to learn why there were so many girls at Ulpanat Dolev with police records. When he arrived at the school he was “welcomed” by the girls with shouts and protests. Akua then decided to explain to them that he was visiting on an exploratory mission and asked to speak to them privately. As a result, he brought other police commanders to visit the ulpana and they decided to teach the girls once a week about law enforcement, police service to the community, and other aspects of policing. Consequently, the Binyamin Area police division decided to adopt the Ulpanat Dolev students and take them “under their wing.”
Ilan reports: “Last summer the Binyamin Area policemen organized a picnic on their behalf in Park Canada with the police orchestra. (Two students even sang with them.) They awarded the students a Certificate of Appreciation to 10 Senior Class Ulpanat Dolev students for their efforts to volunteer with the police on patrols and other police activities. They witnessed a total change of our students’ attitude towards the police and attained a new understanding of the positive role of police in society.”
As one student said, “Now we understand the positive role the police play in our everyday lives and we have learned to appreciate their hard work to protect us every day.”
As a result, many of the senior class will volunteer for the police department after graduation for National Service duty.
In conjunction with the students’ volunteering for the local police force and planning a summer camp with the theme of traffic safety education, Ulpanat Dolev was one of 17 schools in Israel to be awarded by the Ministries of Transportation for its excellence in the National Contest for Traffic Safety Education Program.