Meet Jen, and see why she is so passionate about opening doors to the youth of Neve Yosef
Jen Majlin is a Haifa native and will be celebrating a year as Manager of the Neve Yosef Community Center Clubhouse this August. Previous to working at NYCC, Jen worked as a film and communication teacher and taught informal education in the Kibbutzim. In an interview with Jen, she described the mission of the Clubhouse, its’ impact on the youth who attend, and how invaluable it is to the lives of the youth in Neve Yosef.
What is the Clubhouse?
“The Clubhouse originated in the United States and over time became a global organization. The mission of the Clubhouse is to minimize the gaps in technological literacy of the youth in underserved neighborhoods, to increase the averages of kids that finish high school and get jobs, and to encourage them to be successful. We always say that everyone is born with talent, but not everyone gets the chance to develop it.
“Everyone is born with talent, but not everyone gets the chance to discover and develop it.”
The Clubhouse is a place of learning where the youth can discover their creativity and talent and expand their worldview, and more crucially, it is a place where they get to express themselves. The kids have access to many subjects – Photoshop, music, robotics, animation; everyone can find themselves here.”
Why are you so passionate about the Clubhouse?
“This is a place where you can really make a difference in kids’ lives. If they come here and learn about themselves and find that they are good at something, it can completely change their paths. Some of the kids here don’t believe in themselves, and they don’t think that they can succeed in life. But here in the Clubhouse, they get to experience success – which builds their self-confidence – and that is so important.
“It does not matter where you come from or what you observe. We all come together, accept each other’s differences, and there is no violence.”
Something I love is that we have kids from all types of backgrounds here – we have Arabs, Jews, religious, not religious – kids from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia; we have everything here. Every month we discuss values, whether it is multiculturalism, patience, or acceptance. For example, you can see in our exhibition that our value was acceptance of differences. The kids did projects reflecting the value of equality and respect.”
“The Clubhouse (and Community Center as a whole) is like a safe house. The situation in Israel with all of the differences can be messy, but here it does not matter where you come from or what you observe. We all come together, accept each other’s differences, and there is no violence.”
Why is it important for the neighborhood to have a Clubhouse?
“The Community Center as a whole is vital to the community. It has something for every person of every age. It is like a magnet; it draws people in. I have never seen a place like this center before. And as for the Clubhouse, as I said before, it gives kids a sense of purpose. It keeps them out of trouble and encourages them to expand their talent.
There are a couple boys in here who came in not thinking that they were capable. Now one of them is a master at animation, and one of them is a master at Photoshop. They’re tutoring kids older than them in the subjects that they have gotten so good at. I love that, I love it here.
“This job is my favorite because I feel like we are really making an impact in these kids’ lives.”
I always tell the kids how valuable these skills are, and how they can use them to work, or even go to college. Some of these kids don’t believe that they can go to college.
This job is my favorite because I feel like we are really making an impact in these kids’ lives.”
What are some of the challenges you face in the Clubhouse?
“The biggest challenge is that we don’t have money; we need donors. Up until a year ago, Intel was funding the Clubhouse but they have since moved in a different direction. All the guides that I bring in to teach the kids cost money, and I can’t guide them myself because I do not know enough about the material. There is so much more that I want to give the kids but we simply cannot afford it.”
What are your hopes for the future?
“I hope that we will have more kids come through these doors, and that I can see their progress. To get to hear kids say that they found a job or opportunity because of the skills they developed in the center would be incredible. Or if they go to college, that would be awesome.
I also hope to find a donor that will support us year-round so that I can provide more lessons and guides for the kids. My big dream is that we would be able to expand the Clubhouse and have more space and more activities.”
Written by Libby Rivera, summer intern for NYCC: Read more here