To ensure that the lessons of social cohesion, mutual responsibility, giving and volunteering remain with participants far beyond their I BELONG ISRAEL journey, in September 2017 we launched the I BELONG ISRAEL Community Service prize. Hundreds of 11th and 12th graders from around the country entered the competition, initiating a variety of unique and much needed volunteering projects. The winners were announced in a special ceremony earlier this month at an I BELONG ISRAEL mega event in Jerusalem:
First Place: Darca Danziger High School in Kiriyat Shmona: Restoration of abandoned walking trail in Kiryat Shmona Gold Park.
For years, the walking trail at Kiryat Shmona Gold Park was overgrown, neglected, and useless. The students of Darca high school worked tirelessly for months on end and today this beautiful walking trail can be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.
Second Place: Metro West Raanana High School – Breaking Down Barriers.
The Mor Metro West Raanana high school has been participating in I BELONG ISRAEL since the program’s inception. Last year, students decided to add an additional element to their journey of identity and invite the Druze students of Beit Shean High School to share in this important experience. This was the first ever joint high school I BELONG ISRAEL experience and it strengthened ties between two different sectors of Israel’s population, promoting dialogue and mutual respect.
Third Place: Makif Ironi Daled Ashkelon High School: Engaging a Special Needs Community
After volunteering at a special needs high school on “Community day” during their I BELONG ISRAEL journey, the students of Makif Ironi Daled Ashkelon decided to engage the students of Maayan Sara, a local special needs high school in Ashkelon. Throughout the school year the two schools participated in a variety of joint programming and events.