goeco@goeco.org   |   USA: +16462404545

Israel - Creating Safe Spaces for At-Risk Youth

This school has a unique approach towards rehabilitation of at-risk youth. As part of this approach the school operates a nursery where the students learn about responsibility and experiment with expressing their true character. As a volunteer, you will work at this nursery, learn about horticulture, and make a real impact on local youth in Jerusalem!



Fast Facts

Location of ProjectJerusalem, Israel
Project LengthMin 2 weeks - Max 6 weeks
Arrival AirportBen Gurion Airport
Volunteer WorkGardening at a nursery, working with children
Number of Participants1 - 3 international volunteers
Age18 - 80

What's Included

AccommodationShared dorm room in a hostel
FoodBreakfast included, basic lunch provided on volunteering days at the school
SupportLocal in-country team and 24hr emergency support
Pre-Departure Kit Full project details will be sent following registration
Health Insurance Comprehensive health insurance for volunteering in Israel
Orientation GoEco volunteer and travel orientation in Jerusalem

What's Not Included

Flights, airport transfer to Jerusalem (budget around $20), local transportation to and from school (budget around $6/day), personal expenses


Jerusalem is not just Israel's capital, but a cultural hub and one of the oldest cities in the world. You will be close to great cafes, the Mahane Yehuda market, and other important city attractions. With just a short walk to the old city of Jerusalem, one can discover the diverse cultural experience of the Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Armenian quarters. 

The school is located in a beautiful tree-lined neighborhood close to the residence of the President of Israel, the Jerusalem Theater, the Islamic Art Museum, and much more.


About the Project

Join this very unique school where at-risk youth get a second chance. The school believes in the kids and in the ultimate goodness of humankind, which leads their rehabilitation approach - they are not confrontational or forceful. They trust the kids and give them the space to develop and make the right decisions.

Beyond the standard classes, the school offers different projects in which the students can experiment with responsibility and express their true character. The main project is the plant nursery - and this is where the volunteers provide assistance.

The school is also unique due to its exceptional resources. The school has 100 students and 70 staff members! The school also has a library, a computer lab, a carpentry workshop, a music room, an arts room, and a petting zoo with a variety of animals! This is quite remarkable in Israel - a country with limited resources.

The school has male students ages 12-18. Male and female volunteers are accepted.

*Please note that depending on the time of year you may not have the chance to interact with the youth, especially during school holidays and breaks.


Orientation in Jerusalem

Your volunteer adventure will start off with a GoEco orientation at a fantastic hostel in the center of Jerusalem. The orientation is a great way to meet fellow volunteers and travelers from around the world and includes the following:

  • Volunteer preparation and travel directions to the program
  • Expert advice for travelling around Israel during and after your volunteer placement
  • Walking tour of Jerusalem, including the Old City and the famous Machane Yehuda market
  • Discount card to experience Jerusalem's vibrant nightlife
  • 1 night dorm accommodation and breakfast (private rooms available for extra price)

The GoEco orientation will begin at 10:30 AM on arrival day. The next morning, you will travel to your volunteer project via public transportation. Full travel details to Jerusalem and the project will be provided upon registration.


Volunteer Work and Contribution

During the project, you will work at the school's nursery, however, this nursery is much more than just a place to grow plants. For the school and its teachers, the nursery is a metaphor for rehabilitation.  The nursery often receives donations of left-over plants that are barely alive, and the students learn that they have the ability to revive a plant and give it life. You do not need any experience in horticulture - you will learn all you need to know while at the school.

The students need mentoring and positive influences in their lives, and as a volunteer you will not only learn the secrets of gardening, but will also interact informally with the students. Because of the the school's philosophy of creating a space for the students to make their own decisions, the interaction you will have with the students will depend on what develops organically between you and the students while you are there. 

  • Working hours: generally from 9:00 until 15:00, this is just a guideline and the schedule may change from week to week.
  • Fridays and Saturdays are free days.


Living Arrangements

Accommodations: You will be staying at a hostel in the center of Jerusalem, making access to any site in the city simple and easy. You will stay in a mixed gender dorm room with between 10 or 12 people.The room comes with comfortable bunk beds and an en-suite bathroom and shower, as well as personal night stands for each volunteer.  A female only dorm room, which holds between 4 and 6 other people, is also available upon request.

If you do not want to stay at the hostel and prefer to book other accommodations, please let us know following registration.  We will be able to refund you a portion of the volunteer fee and advise you about other options.  

Food: During your volunteer placement, breakfast will be served at the hostel. For all other meals, volunteers need to buy and cook their own food or eat out. The hostel is conveniently located in the center of the Jerusalem with easy accessibility to a range of different restaurants and markets. There is also a fully equipped kitchen for your use at the hostel.

Internet: WiFi is available at the hostel (depends on the availability at your accommodation).


Travel Highlights

During your free time you can visit the extraordinary sites in Jerusalem. There are also many attractions in Tel Aviv and adventure activities such as surfing, paddle boarding and wind surfing. Visiting other cities and attractions including Eilat, the Dead Sea and Masada are easy via public transportation. Israel has some of the best nature areas and hiking trails such as the Jesus Trail in the north and those that are in the Negev Desert.


Minimum Requirements

  • Minimum age 18, maximum age 80
  • High level of independence
  • Desire to work in the garden and contribute to its success
  • Basic English
  • Motivation to work with youth

Here's an excerpt of Adriana's experience:


" I loved working in the garden, Shlomo was a great teacher. It was lovely being able to spend a few hours under the sun, working with such beautiful flowers; especially since I come from a big city! The plants grown in the greenhouse are also grown by the students, and they later sell them to raise money for the school. I also got to work with the animals, which was my favorite part. The school has chickens, geese, ducks, rabbits, birds, chinchillas, and more that I’m sure I’ve forgotten. I loved my baby goats the most!."

Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!

Here's an excerpt of Claire's experience:

  "My favorite part of the day was on the way to the Old City when we passed a group of palm trees.  Our guide made us stop and told us to look at all the trees.  He asked if they were all the same and then explained how each palm tree was a tree that grew slightly differently.  For me this was the perfect image of Israel, a place where everyone is growing separately yet still a unit growing and developing together.  It made me realize that life is not about them or us, but about everyone just in different places."

Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!



Here's an excerpt of Avallon's experience:


"When I looked into the details of the project, the description explained that I would be working in a therapeutic garden.  I wasn't too sure what this meant... but it sounded like a unique challenge that I could immerse myself in.  I soon found out that this garden was less about the flowers and plants, and more about the people.  I was fortunate enough to have kindhearted and soft-spoken managers that taught me how to work with the nature and children simultaneously."

Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!

Check out our Volunteer Blog at blog.goeco.org to read experiences written by GoEco volunteers from all over the world!

Recommended By