The Stepping Stone Program is a multi-faceted program aimed at assisting at-risk teenage girls, ages 13-15.
The majority of these teenagers come from homes where their parents are unable to provide them with either financial or emotional support.
Some of the program participants are not even in contact with one or both of their parents, who, in some cases, are incarcerated or suffer from substance abuse. Participants are referred to the program by the municipal social welfare authorities in the areas where this program is offered.
In partnership with Yehud municipality in South Tel Aviv, The Jaffa Institute began operating The Stepping Stone Project in 2017. It has since been expanded to include an additional site in Yehud. The Jaffa Institute has also launched a similar program in Bat Yam, in partnership with the municipality.
The Stepping Stone program’s staff includes an experienced program manager and dedicated counsellors. The unique structure of this program ensures that the staff are able to provide each teenage girl with individual attention and strong support. The program is offered in a warm, home-like environment to make the participants feel comfortable and encourage them to share their problems.
During the school year, these young people are provided with in-depth tutoring to help them complete their schoolwork. Many of the participants have major academic gaps, due to absences from school.
In addition to this academic assistance, regular group therapy sessions are held. These create a safe space for the girls to share experiences and help each other. Stepping Stone has also developed social enrichment activities to encourage the participants to make friends.
Finally, this all-encompassing program provides empowerment workshops covering a wide range of topics to provide information on key subjects and stimulate discussion. The topics include: nutrition; relationships and women’s health; art and dance; self-defence and cyber safety; and alcohol and drug abuse.
In all, this comprehensive and much-needed program empowers seriously disadvantaged teenage girls to grow into confident, responsible and successful young women.