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Benardete “Bridge to College” Empowers At-Risk Teens


With generous support from the fund established by Luna and Selim Benardete and their family,ISEF has been able to expand and enhance its  Bridge to College projects in two locations – the blue-collar city of Nesher near Haifa, and a struggling immigrant neighborhood in Holon (south of Tel Aviv).   
This year, 40 of ISEF’s brightest university scholars from Israel’s periphery are providing individualized, intensive tutoring and mentoring support, four hours a week, to 63 at-risk teens in Nesher and Holon,grades 10-12, who were deemed at risk for dropping out of school.
A high school diploma (“bagrut”) is essential to get into university and to achieve social and economic mobility. Sadly, for many young Israelis, earning their diploma is a near-impossible goal; in immigrant and underserved areas of Israel, less than half manage to graduate, and less than 10% get to college. So the cities of Nesher and Holon are partnering with ISEF to boost the chances of success for their most vulnerable teens.
The personal involvement of an ISEF student mentor has a powerful impact on her pupil.

The personal involvement of an ISEF student mentor has a powerful impact on her pupil.

ISEF scholars, hailing from marginalized communities themselves, are relatable role models and mentors for at-risk teens. They work closely with participants and their families to provide academic support, enabling them to pass their graduation exams and get their diplomas. ISEF’s scholars also empower these teens to see the vital importance of higher education to their future.
ISEF’s student mentors also lead group social programs: values clarification workshops, group community service days, and crucial field trips, including spending a full day on a nearby university campus. Even more, our students become these teens’ trusted confidants–like Big Brothers and Sisters.
ISEF’s “Bridge to College” Project has doubled in size and impact, thanks to the visionary generosity of the Benardete family. Nearly all (90%) of the 2017 graduating class passed their exams and got their diplomas! This is an amazing result for children who were deemed at risk of dropping out of school. The Luna and Selim Benardete Bridge to College Fund is truly making a difference in many young lives.
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Participants in ISEF’s Bridge to College Program in Nesher

Below: Photos from the Luna and Selim Benardete Bridge to College Fund Project in Nesher (Click on thumbnails to view full size images.)
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