“She laughed!” I shouted into the kindergarten playground. I was filled with pride and joy. “She laughed with me! Just a moment ago!” My excitement from such seemingly minor actions was enormous. I was so privileged, to get to know and love these amazing children, and accompany them along their first steps internal the world they would need to cope with throughout their lives. What an uplifting experience, one that will stay with me my whole life!” (This is what one National Civic Service volunteer had to say of her work at the AlutTaf Kindergarten for autistic children.)
Organization Background and Mission:
Bat Ami was created in 1994 to place religious Israeli young women in National Volunteer Service – known as Sherut Leumi in Hebrew. Sherut Leumi is a recognized alternative to military service for those for whom the military draft is waived (on grounds of religion, health, etc.). As a forward-looking, socially-attuned organization, Bat-Ami has been evolving in new directions over the years and has enhanced its role as a social change organization seeking to provide equal opportunities for all.
The Bat-Ami organization works towards positive social change and promotes the values of fellowship and social justice through the modalities of volunteerism in sherut leumi, leadership programs, and empowerment activities, always providing equal opportunities to all population sectors:
- 2,100 religious girls volunteer in sherut leumi in educational, health, social services, security, community services, and environmental preservation frameworks that meet a wide swath of social needs in Israel and the diaspora.
- 900 young men and women for whom military service is not viable contribute to society through sherut leumi via Bat-Ami.
- A new initiative for “weak” social groups that provides with a continuum of accompanying support services so participants can build on their strengths as they contribute to society though sherut leumi.
Bat-Ami accepts young men and women, religious and secular, Jews and non-Jews, new immigrants and veteran Israelis and also individuals with special needs and young women in-distress and at-risk into its volunteer placement programs.