Heartbeats – Youth Futures for Early Childhood

Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation and The Jewish Agency for Israel have launched a new program for young families with children under the age of three.

 

Our Vision

Heartbeats programmatic vision is to give parents in Israel’s geographical and social periphery the confidence, opportunity, and tools to strengthen their parental identity while giving them the skills they need to facilitate and foster their child's healthy development.

Why is this important?

Early childhood is a critical stage in a child's life where abilities are formed and developed, influencing each child for the rest of their life.  For this reason, strengthening and guiding parents of young children in general, and parents of first children in particular, is a task that requires thought, great investment, and attention.

 

Target Population

Parents of children from birth to three years, with emphasis on parents with one or two children.

 

Who are we?

The Heartbeats program is the solution offered by Youth Futures, a subsidiary company of The Jewish Agency. Youth Futures is a long-standing program that has operated for over a decade in 36 communities throughout Israel, working children, teens and their families in all sectors of Israeli society. The program utilizes an innovative and unique model of mentorship where each child and their family is offered significant accompaniment and guidance. The program brings with it rich experience and knowledge in working with parents and taking community action, creating a collaboration with local municipalities and the national government.

 

Our Staff

The Heartbeats team in each community consists of a Coordinator responsible for leading the program in the community, training the Mentors, and carrying out group and community intervention with the parents, and a team of Mentors responsible for accompanying families in their individual homes.

 

Where and How will we operate?

  • Heartbeats will operate in communities with an existing Youth Futures infrastructure, optimizing project operation

  • The program will work closely with the early childhood center in the community and with the Health, Education, and Welfare frameworks that service early childhood. This is based on our understanding that the key to success depends on optimal collaboration between the different entities that work in the community,

  • Initially Heartbeats will be launched in six communities throughout the country: Ofakim, Hazor, Migdal Haemek, the Beit Shean region, Tel Aviv, in the Hatikva Neighborhood and Maalot Tarshiha, in the Arab sector. In the next few years, we hope to expand to additional communities.

 

what we offer?

  • Intervention in the Home

  • Heartbeats Mentors guide and support parents on a weekly basis to strengthen parenting skills, organize the home environment, prioritize family values, strengthen the parent-child relationship, and support parents as agents in their child's development.

Community intervention

Work in the structure of the community and neighborhood by running developmental play centers, seminars, family happenings, etc.

Group intervention

Running short-term and long-term parenting workshops which will deal both with universal topics that are of concern to all parents as well as with specific topics raised by the parents of Heartbeats

Guidance, Evaluation, Training and Research

  • Professional Committee – Heartbeats is accompanied by a professional committee consisting of the program's professionals, representatives of government ministries, experts from the field of early childhood and representatives of research and development.

  • Research and formative evaluation – Youth Futures has many years of experience in developing evaluation and measurement processes. The program implements evaluation systems among the most advanced in Israel. The evaluation process takes place in collaboration with an external research and evaluating body with the aim of examining the program’s impact on the beneficiaries.

  • Training – Youth Futures has collaborated with the Haruv Institute for the purpose of giving professional training on the ground. Since its foundation in 2007, the institute has worked to guide professionals, professional support workers, researchers, parents and children. The Heartbeats staff and professionals in the field of early childhood who work in the community will receive professional training from them.

  • Evidence-based model- After an in-depth search, we are pleased to have engaged Healthy Families America (HFA). The curriculum is well-suited to the Heartbeats approach and to our Israeli audience.

 

Our Partners

The Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Jewish Federations, foundations and donors in Israel and throughout the world have partnered with us in this program, as well as local authorities and government ministries – education, welfare and health.