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Volunteering in Israel – Gardening and Farming

Volunteering in Israel at the Creating Safe Spaces for At-Risk Youth project was amazing and I’m glad to have had the opportunity to be a part of their team. Before my project began, I was fortunate enough to stay in Abraham hostel, compliments of GoEco. It is such an amazing hostel with the nicest staff and most interesting travelers. Our project manager, Yan, met us at the hostel and after a detailed orientation, he took us all over Jerusalem!

I hope anyone volunteering in Jerusalem with GoEco is fortunate enough to meet Yan because he is truly amazing. I learned more about Israeli culture and history from him than anywhere else! He’s always there when you need him and keeps in contact with you the duration of your project. He even comes to work with you one day! I should also mention that I had to go to the hospital at one point (I thought I had appendicitis, which turned out to be nothing serious), and he was there for me the whole time even though it was the middle of the night. He offered to cancel his plans for the day to come see me!

Upon arriving to the school, we were introduced to Shlomo. Over the course of my volunteering, I was able to see how much Shlomo cared for the students and how much his job meant to him, it was truly inspiring. The boys at the school have had their troubles growing up. Some don’t come from the best homes, they’ve gotten in trouble with the law, and many have behavioural problems that disrupt their learning. They are all getting a second chance there.

The school focuses on each student and what they need specifically to succeed. It reminded me more of one big family rather than a school. 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!

Jerusalem was a great city to work in. Everyday I learned something new about history. Everywhere you go, there’s always some history to it. The people were kind and the transportation system made it very easy to get around. My favourite part was the market, Mehane Yehuda. By day, it was this huge market where you could buy almost anything and by night it turned into an awesome social scene, with great bars and yummy restaurants. Overall, this project was amazing. GoEco has great projects and the best staff! I can’t wait to work with them again.