The goal of this youth empowerment campaign is to host a week-long series of after school speaker events in Yavne, Israel. The speakers will promote awareness of educational opportunities for Ethiopian young people and help facilitate their successful integration into Israeli society. One night will also be dedicated to a speaker such as a social worker who will target the older generation and help them to bridge gaps with the more assimilated younger generation. Our goal is to help open doors for the Ethiopian youth in Yavne, to help them feel hopeful, empowered, supported, and to dream beyond the limitations of poverty.
The inspiration: Yoni Mekonen
My brother Yoni tragically took his own life on Oct. 17, 2011. According to various estimates, The Ethiopian community in Israel has a very high rate of suicide for many complicated reasons. Some put this rate at 16%
http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3897208,00.html, some as high as 36.8%.
In Yoni’s honor, we hope to reach these young people and let them know they’re not alone.
The Running Component
To help meet this goal, I am also beginning to participate in local NYC runs, hopefully to culminate in the fall 2012 NYC Marathon. My first run will be February 25, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.