A lack of effective tools for dealing with violence among children and teenagers has led to despair, anxiety, and a wave of harsh, mainstream punishment approaches, such as the zero tolerance policy, invoking the use of surveillance cameras and suspensions. Educators and parents need an innovative solution to violence that differs from other attempts, which have thus far failed to yield their intended results. Formerly known as The SOS Violence Center, Matzmichim (Uplifters)- the Center for Violence Reduction is a non-profit established in 2004 to develop and implement strategies and specific professional tools for dealing with violence individually and as a group. Using practical training tools, Matzmichim (Uplifters) works to enhance pupils’ social-emotional skills, which enables them to individually and collectively deal with negative dynamics and promote a positive classroom climate.
Matzmichim (Uplifters) operates with the assistance of local and international resources and partnerships with nongovernmental organizations, academia and other charitable organizations.
Since its establishment, Matzmichim (Uplifters) has won recognition and awards for innovation. Of the hundreds of candidates, Matzmichim (Uplifters) was selected by NIF and IVN as one of four leading social start-ups for 2008-2010. Most recently, Matzmichim (Uplifters) was awarded the Knesset Chairman Quality of Life Award for 2015, a great honor to the organization.
We believe that pupils’ awareness of their ability to deal with violence should be enhanced and we provide them with the personal and group tools to accomplish this.
Non-violent resistance to violence: We train and guide the teacher as a leader of change in the class, using special techniques to work with both the “silent majority” and the aggressors. The belief that we should not punish the aggressor is key to our method of reducing violence. We emphasize a focus on strengthening the pupils’ support systems and encouraging their cooperation and collaboration.
Matzmichim workshops in operation now for nearly a decade throughout the country are part of a school valued model or systemic school model.
The workshop’s sectarian dynamic nature includes complex experiential exercises that give pupils an opportunity to question how they conduct their daily lives in the classroom and how to cope with various forms of social violence.
The aims of the Classroom Workshop:
* To provide tools and techniques of non-violent solutions to verbal and physical harassment, humiliation, threats, rumors, extortion, theft, sexual violence, shunning and other challenging situations.
About the Speaker:
Yony Tsouna, Co-founder and Chairman for Matzmichim for nearly a decade. Mr. Tsouna is a certified honors graduate from Hebrew University’s master’s in Public Policy program. During his studies, he analyzed the national policy and external programs for dealing with violence in schools. In addition to guiding workshops for children and youth, youth at risk, parents and educators, he is a professional advisor for policy planning to reduce violence, a lecturer in academia, professional forums and in the media in Israel and abroad.
In recent years, we developed a vision for an empowerment center in which pupils’ strengths flourish. The model is designed to serve as an incentive for abandoning the use of aggression as a tool to improve social status and replace it with empowerment. This serves to increase the popularity of the pupil contributing to the psychological wellbeing of all students in the class and thus, they become role models among their peers. As part of the model, work units were developed with the “empowerment team” model, sharing between parents and children – “Empowering parents.”
Classroom activity, the core feature of the systemic work model, includes:
At the end of the base workshop it is recommended to continue the process with our follow-up sessions:
Workshops and lectures for parents:
Integration of teachers and parents ensures that the change achieved in the classroom will be maintained over time.
The issue of violence in schools is a significant challenge that requires providing teachers with practical tools to deal with the violence. Matzmichim Violence Reduction Organization conducts teacher trainings and provides non-violent means to deal with violence. The course is held with the entire school faculty, support staff and management. The advantage of the course’s format of creating a shared experience is an application of the tools acquired with monitoring, analysis and real-time feedback.
Lectures and workshops on various relevant topics: popularity and aggression, virtual violence, how to promote empowerment and a friendly environment workshop are attended by parents from schools that participated in the program.