14 Helping Discharged IDF Soldiers from Disadvantaged Backgrounds Every year, approximately 1,200 soldiers from disadvantaged backgrounds are discharged from the IDF only to return to their high-risk environments, and have difficulties transitioning back to civilian life. Many do not have a home to return to or family upon whom they can rely. They return to the social, emotional and financial challenges of their old lives. Amit LaDerech (“A Friend Alongside”) helps these former soldiers at a critical juncture in their lives. A couple of inspiring stories: Mor was discharged from the army with medical issues and did not have a high school diploma. “A Friend Alongside” helped him navigate the civilian medical bureaucracy and finish high school. In addition, Mor is going to start studying Social Work in college this fall. Nikita had a criminal record, no high school diploma and no place to call home. A Friend Alongside worked with him and mentored him in different areas. As a result, Nikita was able to expunge his criminal record, find a job and receive his high school diploma. Today, Nikita studies towards his law degree and volunteers with youth at risk. “A Friend Alongside” integrates these former soldiers from disadvantaged backgrounds into civilian life by strengthening their personal skills and abilities which helps them become contributing members of society. “A Friend Alongside” helps these former soldiers attain stable employment, higher education, confidence and self- realization by mentoring them, guiding them, and helping them with seminars and scholarships. HOT made its first grant in June 2017 to finance the training of 15 additional mentors to guide the former soldiers. There is no cookie cutter way to successfully mentor former soldiers with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Each mentor is taught to recognize the uniqueness of the former soldier’s needs and are in touch with their mentees on a day to day basis to help them gain the tools to integrate into civilian life. HOT would like to assist “A Friend Alongside” in their efforts. Please consider: • $8,570 for five “landing kits” @ average cost of $1,714 per - can include a computer, kitchen appliances, clothes - exact makeup is based on individual need • $9,829 for 14 separate workshops (ranging from managing budgets and bank accounts and living independently to more specialty skills) for 20 former soldiers @ $702 per workshop