Innovation in Holon is at the heart of everything we do; it is only natural to implement it among children and youth, who have been our main focus over the past twenty years.

In early July, before Operation Protective Edge, I had the privilege to be part of a unique experience while I attended the first convention of the Master Plan for Holon’s Children and Youth, organized by the Welfare Department, the Division of Educational Administration, the Community and Leisure Network, and the Strategic Planning Department.

Although I attend quite a large number of work meetings, I was truly excited to witness this gathering of 150 professionals and experts from diverse institutions – the municipality, municipal subsidiaries, government offices, associations, and all relevant units – all setting as top priority the needs of Holon’s children, instead of the needs of the organizations they represent. This gathering is a harbinger of a thorough and comprehensive process, which is believed to create a major change for the better, and I will explain why.

d792d79f-d7a0d799d7a6d7a0d799d79d-1

As we all know, for the past twenty years Holon has branded itself as the Children’s City. Holon’s longtime expertise and its commitment to the advancement of children’s education, culture and welfare places it at an advantage. Our endeavors improve the residents’ quality of life, raise the city’s reputation among its residents as well as nationwide, and attract young families who seek a good environment to raise their children in. Thanks to these efforts, Holon is famed for its initiative and drive, which is reflected in all its areas of purview. Naturally, though, this reputation also incurs an ever growing set of expectations and demands, which cannot or should not always be realized. The reality we have created is evolving and changing, raising new questions and thoughts such as: Where do we go from here? What should we put more focus on? What should we change? What should we invest more (or less) in?

What makes this master plan uniquely advantageous is the fact that it considers all aspects of children’s lives, aspiring to provide care for all age groups: from birth to eighteen years, while focusing on a variety of domains such as: health and sports; informal education; community, leisure and culture; children and youth at risk; immigrants from Ethiopia and the former USSR; physical environment and accessibility; the digital era and its implications; special needs; religious populations, parenthood and family, and more.

This comprehensive program, which outlines objectives and work plans, will allow us to enhance and regulate the current initiatives oriented at children and youth across the city. The program brings us one step closer to realizing Holon’s vision as the Children’s City. The mere existence of such a project, alongside the process of planning it and later on implementing it, is bound to leverage our children-oriented initiatives to new and exciting levels.

Gladly, we enjoy the cooperation of Joint Ashalim, which specializes in developing programs and services for children and youth at risk.

Following are the objectives of the plan:

  • Leveraging Holon’s children-oriented initiatives to even higher standards.
  • Developing a sustainable plan which does not depend on duty holders.
  • Detaching from traditional divisions of responsibility, allowing for more cooperation and flexibility with respect to the functioning of different organizations.
  • Providing a holistic and integrative viewpoint that meets the full range of all children’s needs.
  • Deepening the local children and parents’ attachment to the city.
  • Creating an educational process aimed at encouraging proactive residents.
  • Engaging Holon’s administration, its executives and subsidiaries in the city’s wide scale children-oriented initiatives, while taking all conditions and needs into account.

The writing of the plan is due to finish in the summer of 2016. Much progress is expected up until then. Stay tuned!

Advertisements