I called one of my supporters this morning. He asked me, “What is Areivim doing these days?”
I’d like to share my response with you.
Around five years ago, I realized that the commonly accepted approach to mentoring was not only insufficient to help teenagers grow, but it actually decreased their chances for long term success.
I understand that is a serious accusation. Allow me to explain. The accepted mentoring approach is to help teenagers become less angry, mediate between parents and child, between student and school. In order to win their trust, and because of a fear that they may deteriorate even further, most mentors place the teen in a bubble: a life where there is little punishment, if any; a life which rewards them for basic achievements and won’t punish them for the most selfish acts. The teenager becomes less angry, and possibly goes to a Yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel which continues this approach. He returns to a hero’s welcome and is returned to his bubble. This “born again” young adult has little experience in the real world. He has little experience with reciprocal relationships, for empathy that requires personal sacrifice. He is unprepared for marriage. Once married, he’s outside of his bubble. For the first time he’s expected to do what he doesn’t want to do; he is criticized for doing something wrong; he's not lavished with praise for doing something right. Often, his wife is his mirror image. Each expects to be treated as the other wants from them. This scenario plays out every day in our community. We're saving teenagers, but we're nurturing generations of emotionally needy and under-skilled adults, spouses, and parents.
Areivim bursts this bubble by creating an environment which resembles the real world. We offer them a close-knit family, a strong support system, and a wide range of resources. They reciprocate with responsible behavior, not because we demand it of them, but because it is the norm in our community. Teenagers that live with us or in homes guided by our approach evolve naturally into healthy adults, spouses, and parents. Our ability to create such an environment is a secret, no less sacred than the ingredients that make Coke so unique and popular. Unlike Coke, I’m happy to share our secret blend with everyone.
Partnering with Areivim will save our children and, more importantly, our future generations. I'm asking my friends to please click on the banner below, or call the office at 845-371-2760, and partner with us. Our dinner will be held Motzei Shabbos, December 1st, at Ateres Charna.