The Yemin Orde Young Men’s Leadership Program for Immigrant Youth works to empower youth from immigrant backgrounds with the skills necessary to excel in their military service and to thrive in civilian life afterwards. This gap-year leadership program provides a unique blend of education, volunteering, physical training and emotional support, allowing participants to maximize their individual potential and capacity to become contributing members to society.
Every year about 60 young men from around the country choose to defer their mandatory military service for one year to attend the Mechina. The vast majority of participants are immigrants or children of immigrants from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union. All are from underserved communities and disadvantaged backgrounds who could not reach their full potential without access to such a program.
The program teaches life skills through courses in personal finance, interpersonal relationships, making informed decisions and public speaking. The young men learn about teamwork by volunteering in the local community and running the day-to-day logistics of the Mechina. In preparing for military service, participants learn navigation and orienteering skills, have a week-long survival course, a week at a Paratrooper basic-training camp, first aid lessons, and hikes and field trips focusing on the history and geography of the Land of Israel, Jewish heritage and traditions of the IDF. Upon graduation, allocated staff remain in close contact with these young men to provide essential resources, trainings, counseling and support, helping ensure their journey into mandatory military service and onwards to independent life is a true success.