The purpose of Etgarim’s year of Community Service and National Service projects is to transform the young volunteers into emissaries of inclusion for people with disabilities. The program aims to raise the volunteers’ sense of social responsibility, strengthen their leadership skills and introduce them to the special people Etgarim works with.
Shnat Sherut (an year of community service) is an option for young Israelis to devote a year to community before their military service. National Service is an option for youths who have been exempt from military service (due to health or religious reasons) to devote one or two years to social service.
Part of the volunteers serve as instructors’ assistants in Etgarim programs that work with special education classes. Before each group activity, the pair of instructors (volunteer and professional adult instructor) plan the class educational program, meet with the staff, and together set the objectives they wish to work on with the group.
Other volunteers work with instructors of cable, cycling, running and sailing activities. These volunteers go through diverse training which includes: professional cable training (cable park operators’ course), training in challenging outdoor sports instruction, field hiking, a seminar on Israeli society, and training in the field.
The volunteers are supervised by a coordinator experienced in the field of education, as well as instructors experienced in their specific field. Once a month, all of the volunteers meet for a social weekend to unify them as a group. Moreover, twice a year they attend educational seminars given by the instructors and outside speakers.