Approximately 1500 lone soldiers receive one-on-one guidance from about 500 volunteers, all of whom are former lone soldiers who completed their service and have been released from the army. These volunteers are role models for the soldiers. They encourage the soldiers to strive to succeed and to be absorbed in Israeli society. The volunteers develop meaningful connections with the soldiers and become the address for questions and open discussion, as equals, about issues the soldiers are facing. By means of these personal connections, lone soldiers gain the tools necessary for making independent decisions and strengthen their feelings of worthiness and belonging. Volunteers assist the soldiers in dealing with questions related to utilizing their rights as lone soldiers in the army and understanding cultural gaps, as well as with dealing emotionally with transitions and ongoing challenges. Lone soldiers from the U.S.A., France, Russia, Israel, and South America are paired with volunteers from his/her country of origin.
Ach Gadol runs a network of clubs in six Bet HaChayal (free hostels for soldiers) locations, including Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, Ramat Gan, and Beer Sheva. Each week, a team of counselors from Ach Gadol meets with the soldiers, provides access to information that’s relevant during and after military service, and imparts tools for independently handling the kinds of challenges that lone soldiers encounter. Each year, about 350 soldiers participate in our activities in different clubs.
Throughout the year, Ach Gadol celebrates the Jewish holidays and Sabbath eve together with the soldiers. Activities include: • Passover and Sukkot – A 3-day, Ach Gadol trek in different parts of Israel, which includes camping overnight. • Hanukkah – A festive evening event honoring Ach Gadol’s volunteers. • Friday night dinner – An initiative of the volunteers that involves hosting both soldiers and Ach Gadol volunteers at locations throughout Israel.
A seminar in conjunction with International Women’s Day for Ach Gadol soldiers and volunteers that focuses on women’s empowerment. The seminar aims to identify areas of strength, eliminate mental blocks, and encourage the personal development of seminar participants.
The organization provides personal guidance and support for those who are leaving the ultra-Orthodox world. We have volunteers with special training who work in conjunction with the organization “Yotzim L’Shinui” (Out for Change).
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