“I believe that one of the challenges facing Israeli today is a lack of connection and understanding between our youth and the golden-years generation.” So said Yasmin Kara, the Spokesperson for the Druze Division of The General Federation of Working and Studying Youth in Israel (NOAL). Kara hails from Daliyat al-Carmel and has just instituted a program that she sees as bridging this gap and helping connect these two isolated social groupings.

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The project which is run by NOAL in conjunction with United Hatzalah, has just graduated its first group of teenage Druze volunteers who will now participate in the country-wide Ten Kavod project. The Ten Kavod project, run by United Hatzalah, trains volunteers to be medical first responders at the level of EMR and pairs them up with an elderly citizen in their community whom they visit once a week. The volunteer is tasked with providing a basic medical check-up for their elderly partner as well as some much needed social interaction. The golden-age patient and the younger volunteer often form bonds of friendship that create a relationship that both benefit from. Should the volunteer recognize a problem in the physical or mental status of the patient, they are trained to contact the patient’s doctor and family members as well as provide immediate basic life-saving treatments in cases emergencies.

The 25 Druze teenagers who are currently enlisted in their post-high-school national service program in the Druze community graduated the course on Sunday as part of their service. The course that was offered to the Druze communities across the Carmel region was sponsored by the Daliyat al-Carmel Rotary Club.

This project worked in a format that was specially designed to answer the needs of the Druze community. “Our national service volunteers as well as those who defer their IDF service in order to work in the community for a year or two in Daliyat al-Carmel, wanted to take part in the EMR course and help out in the community,” said Kara. “However, they did not have enough people in Daliyat al-Carmel alone to open the specialized course. So we expanded the course to other Druze communities in the Carmel region as well. Now we have 25 newly trained young members of our community who will strengthen their ties with the older generation and that is a great start.”

Kara said she is working to expand the project and bring it to other Druze communities throughout Israel’s north. “We hope to expand the project in the Druze communities in the Carmel region, as well as other regions such as the Galilee and the Golan.”

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When asked why she, as a youth group leader felt so strongly about this project Kara said: “The Ten Kavod project really strengthens our youth. It gives them the tools that they need to develop as conscientious members of our community as well as an understanding of communal responsibility. It is incredibly important for us as a community to help develop these tools in our youth and provide these services for the elderly. It solidifies us as a community and bridges the gap between our youth and our golden-aged citizens. It is a two-month course that will have a tremendous effect for years to come and it is something that should be taking place everywhere in Israel,” she concluded.