Students Workshops

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.


The workshops:

  • Hundreds of workshops are now taking place each year. The workshop length is 3 full school days.
  • In recent years, Matzmichim (Uplifters) has worked with more than 45,000 pupils and teachers.
  • A significant part of the work is done in periphery schools and with at-risk youth.
  • Matzmichim (Uplifters) works successfully with both primary schools, as well as, junior and senior high schools, from Northern to Southern Israel.

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.

In a survey conducted by the research institute, “Teleseeker” of about 100 teachers, half a year after the workshop began:

68% stated that following the educator workshop students became more sensitive and caring about their friends;
70% responded that following the educator workshop their classroom atmosphere has improved and is now more positive;
55% felt that the workshop resulted in reduced instances of violence and aggression among students.

Unique Methods:

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.

Workshop Foundation:

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.” 

To view an example of the agenda

Analysis of feedback from more than 1,000 pupils from all sectors shows that:

7.1-overall satisfaction with the workshop
73% of pupils indicate they are nicer to others in the classroom.
64% of the pupils state they feel they belong more in the class.
53% of the pupils claim, following the workshop there has been a reduction in physical and verbal violence in the classroom.
55% of the pupils state that after the workshop the classroom atmosphere was more positive and fun.

Classroom activity, the core feature of the systemic work model, includes:

  • Prior workshop training for all school staff.
  • Assessment of the school workshop process by distributing questionnaires to pupils and educators before and after the workshops.
  • The base workshop held for 3 consecutive school days is filled with teachers/educators.
  • Summary workshops are held with the homeroom teachers.
  • Ongoing support and counseling for staff throughout the school year.
  • Option to integrate rewards for dedication to ongoing training.
  • The parents’ integration process occurs through training sessions and joint activities and lectures for parents and students.  

To view the structure of the workshop

At the end of the base workshop it is recommended to continue the process with our follow-up sessions:

  • Continued Workshop – a one-day workshop continuing the process begun at the workshop basis
  • “Parent-child empowerment” – a joint activity for students and their parents.
  • “Empowerment Team”– classroom work of representatives from each grade who are selected by their peers as empowering agents for changing the classroom climate.
  • “All alone”- workshop focused on coping with social shunning.
  • Virtual violence – a brief and focused workshop for all ages.
  • Lectures for teachers/parents: “virtual violence”, aggression-popularity model and empowerment.
  • Teacher training: in the form of a course or a lecture; it can be arranged for the possibility of these courses to be recognized by the Board of Education.
  • Parent workshop-One-time 3 hour introductory workshop to the process and improving the impact of the process.

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.