Teens from the Los Angeles Unified School District travel to Israel for a six-week stay, living and working in the cooperative environment of a kibbutz.
These 17- and 18-year-old youngsters, who travel with two teachers as supervisors, receive school credit for their experience. They fully participate in kibbutz life, and each has an adopted family.
They also visit historical sites throughout Israel and participate in a specially-designed seminar at Givat Haviva (the Jewish/Arab Center for Peace), to further their knowledge of breaking down cultural barriers.
Operation Unity targets African-American, Latino, and other ethnic high school students recommended by their teachers and counselors.
They are students who are considered either “at risk,” wish to hone their leadership skills or are students who may blossom if given a chance.
They participate in an intensive orientation process, including diversity-training seminars.
Operation Unity’s structured follow-up program allows the students further to develop their communication skills through our speakers’ forum. These young participants speak to their peers and others at schools, churches, synagogues, and other community organizations.
We have developed “The Young Ambassadors of Harmony,” a traveling photo exhibit from the kibbutz program. It gives these young people a valuable tool to assist them in dispelling myths and creating understanding among diverse groups of people.
They have received awards from the City and the County of Los Angeles to recognize their work in the area of positive intergroup relations.
The local version of our kibbutz program has transformed the international program into a 3-week project that simulates the kibbutz experience right here in California. Young participants from Los Angeles and Israel will explore their identities, communities, and cultures within a training design that includes team building, cooperative work projects, human relations training, fake Rolex sale experiential excursions, and recreational activities. Activities are conducted at various cultural centers, and ethnic communities. This project is a perfect fit for these times of conflict, confusion and bias on local, national and international levels. Operation Unity addresses the need for youth to move outside their literal and figurative urban and rural boxes (whether disadvantaged or benefited). The organization meets the young person’s need to be given an ever-expanding view of their place and value in the world.