Teenagers receive a second chance at life

Beit Hagai Youth Village offers teens from disadvantaged homes a second chance at a normal future.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

A family home in Beit Hagai
A family home in Beit Hagai
Nachshon Phillipson

Co-authored by Beit Hagai Youth Village

Click here to support and strengthen the Beit Hagai Youth Village

Arutz Sheva spoke with staff members at Beit Hagai, a youth village for teenage boys from disadvantaged homes.

The village, just south of Hevron, offers the boys a chance at a new start, providing professional services, a family environment, and extracurricular activities.

"Beit Hagai is ten kilometers south of Hevron. When we built Beit Hagai, we had a dream: To build a place for kids that come from broken homes. We take these kids in, they come from all parts of Israel, all from difficult backgrounds," Beit Hagai CFO Joe Burnley explained. "And we take them in, we turn them into a family, and we give them a lot of love, we give them a hug.. We show them the proper way to live."

"We have what we call a family group, or a family home. It's a young couple that live together with ten boys, from the age [of] twelve to the age of eighteen, and the couple works...24 hours, seven days a week. They show the how a family functions, they live together, share meals, help with homework..."

Clinical Director Eitan Geffen explained, "It's not like a clinic. When somebody comes to a clinic, he goes back home. These teenagers live here, they get their therapy here, they have their social activities here, all the aspects of life that a normal kid gets in his home environment, so here we actually create a therapeutic environment that's sort of similar to a normal environment but is backed by professionals who are with the kids 24 hours a day."

"The youngsters have their own families - they came here because of their own families who found it very difficult for them to raise their children alone. So their kids had to be in an environment that we create for them, and we want to create a family environment for them so they have an experience of what a family's like, a positive experience of what a family's like, a positive experience of a relationship with a father figure and mother figure.

"We have young couples who sometimes have their own little children, and they're raising ten teenagers that have complicated life stories. It's exciting and challenging, and it's an adventure."

This summer, Burnley said, Beit Hagai held a bar mitzvah for a 12-year-old living in the village, organizing the event and buying tefillin. Teenagers who leave Beit Hagai become soldiers, productive citizens, and build their own families. Even after the graduates marry, the family groups keep in touch.

"It's like one big family," he concluded.

Click here to support and strengthen the Beit Hagai Youth Village




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