This is our primary program, and it is geared toward the girls in 7-9th grades. We meet with school guidance counselors from three different schools in Bet Shemesh to learn who will derive the most benefit from this program. Currently there are between 20-30 girls participating in DROR Sheli. In addition to our classes in self-defense, DROR provides tutoring in small groups. Following the tutoring sessions, the girls participate in workshops or discussions across a wide range of topics, anything from body image to upcoming holidays. Every event at DROR focuses on the goal of empowerment, helping the girls at DROR to learn about and understand new concepts, and to believe in themselves and in their ability to set and achieve new goals.
This program is designed for 10th graders, who are required by their schools to participate in some sort of volunteering role by end of the school year. This group of 10-15 young women are presented with the challenge of researching a social issue they are passionate about (such as animal rights, education for underprivileged children). The goal is to develop a small-scale project where they can effect change in some way in this area.
As these girls are a bit older and moving closer to becoming adults, they are better prepared to discuss more personal subjects. They also serve as role models to the younger girls at DROR in terms of academics and helping them find a familiar face in the sometimes lonely halls of high school.
This is a newer program which we put into practice last year. We have so many incredible young women who have passed through DROR. We were searching for a way to stay in touch with them, and to help them stay in touch with each other after they’ve graduated from high school. We currently have about 10-15 young women in this program who meet once a month, and participate in either a workshop or volunteering opportunity. This group is a place where 11-12th graders can meet, discuss their post high school lives, and help develop future DROR programming. They are our ambassadors to the community at large. Some of them become counselors or future staff members. They serve as the best example of DROR’s mission, helping young girls to believe in themselves, and in the power of sports, academic studies, and volunteering pursuits as an effective way to enlarge and enrich the parameters of their world as well as the community they live in.
DROR offers a two-week, intensive summer camp experience for girls who have participated in DROR’s extracurricular tutoring and sports programs throughout the school year, as well as children in the greater Bet Shemesh community.
The camp program provides additional athletic opportunities, such as zip lining and a rope obstacle course. All of the camp activities are designed to help the girls to better understand and define their identities as they participate in new experiences and learn more about the world around them. The girls participating in Camp DROR learn to trust their ability to set and achieve new and more challenging goals.
Beyond the exhilaration of succeeding in sports, volunteering is an additional tool in helping the girls at DROR to build their self-confidence. All of our activities, at Camp DROR and throughout the school year, are geared toward building a strong foundation that will enable the girls at DROR to move confidently forward in life, believing in themselves and in their ability to contribute to society.
This year's camp program includes the following: Masterchef competition, self defense workshop, workshop on first aid, a trip to the Police museum to better understand their role in the community, a scavenger hunt, a two-day camping trip, and a community-wide fair for the children in Bet Shemesh.
Since 2010, Team DROR has been participating in the Jerusalem Marathon each March. This is the pinnacle of our young women’s athletic training. Beginning two months before the big day, staff members and volunteers train with the girls, assisting and encouraging them to participate in the 10KM event. Our goal is to have everyone participate and finish at their own pace. Being part of a race where literally thousands of people from Jerusalem, all over Israel and throughout the world, are running and cheering you on through the streets of Jerusalem is truly a magnificent experience. It gives the DROR girls an amazing feeling of accomplishment, both for the physical achievement of running in the marathon and also for the feeling of being part of this international event. The huge sense of accomplishment they feel after the marathon, as well as the process of working toward this goal and seeing it through is something that will stay with them throughout their lives. Many of our girls have never participated in this sort of event before. It’s a great opportunity for them to be part of something this huge.
In addition, the Bet Shemesh community, which is an extension of Rikki and Rachelli’s family, as well as friends and classmates, have all been a big part of the Marathon experience. Year after year they attend the event (starting at 5:30 a.m.!) with DROR’s banner, signature pink T-shirts, and delicious bagels and chocolates, before and after the run. For all of us at DROR, the Jerusalem Marathon has become an annual celebration of DROR and an opportunity for the girls and for the community who helped found DROR, to meet one another and celebrate DROR’s success. In addition to the girls at DROR, our runners include members of Bet Shemesh families who are close to Sima, Rikki and Rachelli’s mom and the founder of DROR.
The Marathon is also our annual fundraiser – where our participants are encouraged to be sponsored or donate to the event. The bulk of our donations come from this event, and we are so grateful to our team members for helping us raise more and more each year.