Women and girls in the Israeli society come across social and consciousness obstacles that make it difficult for them to move forward and achieve equally in society. Girls coming from lower socio-economic backgrounds are being discriminated twice first due to their socio-economic backgrounds and second because they are girls.These obstacles are challenges that we can overcome, and by doing so we change the reality! With the right empowering program, with the right tools and the right values- we can show them that there is nothing that they cannot do.
What is the mission and purpose of this program?
“The Sky is the Limit” has developed a special project for these teenage girls, focusing on entrepreneurship training. During the training program the girls will learn how to start their own social business. This way they learn how they can be financially independent and also will take responsibility for their community.We believe this will give the girls the tools to change their life course and also make a wider change in the Israeli society regarding the perception of women.
We start with locating the Girls. This is done in cooperation with the schools, the welfare authorities and the youth directors of each neighborhood. Our counselors meet them mainly in the schools and recruit them to join the afternoon group.
The beginning of the year (October- November) is dedicated to forming the group and creating a bond between the girls. We aspire to create a sense of belonging so that each teenage girl will feel comfortable throughout the year.
In December we start the Entrepreneurship Training Program that has 6 Progress Stages:
Learning and Mapping- we learn how to study the community or the market we want to work in, and how to map it. We look at "what we have"- local services, businesses, cultural life, education systems, etc…. We also learn how to identify what we don't have or what is not working in our community. During this part we will be focusing on the educational discourse on spheres of identity and spheres of influence.
Processing and Planning- for the course of this part we will process what we have learned and mapped regarding our community or market; choose the need or area we want to focus on; and brain storming towards a suitable solution. Throughout this part we will be focusing the educational discourse on taking responsibility- on ourselves and on our community.
"Entrepreneuring"- we will go from thinking to creating. Choosing the Entrepreneurship (according to the needs or market), plan how are we going to do it, create a work plan including the budget, individual responsibilities, and creating a small model of the Entrepreneurship. Together with the Business Mentor, they will learn how to write a business plan and when ready, the group will present it to the Projects Committee. Throughout this part we will be focusing on new tools and skills (such as creativity, team work, responsibility, future planning) alongside looking at our future and how will this help us to be independent.
Projects Committee- will be held by The Sky is the Limit's management and outside consultants. The teenage girls will present their Business plan and will convince the Projects Committee to approve it. The projects must be a business or technological entrepreneurship with expected profits and they all must have a community- giving aspect.
Project Execution- after the approval of the project the girls will start implementing their work plan to execute and establish their project. This will include finding the right resources and partners, and will also focus on the tools and skills the teens will acquire during this part. This will be the longest section and will allow them to establish their project and run it for a long while.
Stabilization and Sustainability- after we run the project for a while we will re-asses our results and success, and make adjustments accordingly. We will also find the right system to keep it going and make sure it is sustainable in order to continue serving the community.
** The group will receive a professional Business Mentor to teach and support the girls.
Empowering teenage girls coming from lower socio- economic background into powerful, independent women leaders in the Israeli society.
College students who are experienced in working with children and youth, and who are motivated to make a difference.in this year (2016/2017) we have 26 students guiding 12 groups and 2 students- coordinators managing the groups.
We can already measure promising in our previous projects and expect the same, if not better results in this project.83% of our teens states that what they have learned affects other areas in their lives such as school, sports and social life. 89% states they have gained new skills (mainly teamwork, persistence and coping with challenges).85% states they now feel more successful (95% experienced success during the year in a new field). 94% of our teens states that they don't participate in any other informal activities, and would not go voluntarily if it wasn't for The Sky is the Limit.
How do you measure the success of your program?
We are evaluating the project in three ways:
1. Fulfilling our goals and objectives.
2. We have a measurement and evaluation system that focuses on:
A. The development of the sense of self efficacy in the teens.
B. How successful do the teens feel.
C. If they have learned new skills and received new tools during the year.
D. if we have increased the participants of teens in in-formal education programs.
This is being done by questionnaires that they feel out at the beginning of the year, middle and end of the year. We add to this their counselors view and evaluation of the progress each teen made. This system was created especially for us by Mr. Hagay Elkayam, an Organizational Psychologist. (a sample questionnaire in attached)
3. We ask for the teens teachers evaluation to see if their achievements and participation at school has improved.
We believe our program has been successful so for but there is still a way to go, there are few challenges ahead of us. we believe we can overcome them so we could keep doing what we love and believe.