The Goldstein Youth Village is a home for over 350 youngsters each year, who live and study at our boarding school. Over half of this population are new immigrant students who make Aliyah alone. The rest of the students come from various hard socioeconomic circumstances, being at-risk youth. As all these students face many hardships, some of them develop certain mental health issues, distress and depression.
It is known that in addition to traditional therapy and medicine, animal therapy has great effect on youngsters. Taking care and spending time with home and yard animals, petting, horse riding – all these have tremendous healing abilities, as studies show and as we saw from previous experience. Children who underwent this program tended to be more happy, calm and relaxed, had higher self-confidence and faith in his/her abilities, had less behavioral issues and improved their grades.
Our Animal Therapy program is two-faceted, and contains two branches; local animal therapy and therapeutic horse riding.
- Therapeutic Horse Riding: 10 children who need it the most will be taken once a week to a horse riding farm in Jerusalem. There, they will have a horse riding session. The children will be having these sessions each week, throughout the year.
- Local Animal Therapy: The Goldstein Youth village is also a warm home to several domestic animals: goats, geese, hens, rabbits and ducks, who live together in our petting zoo. 10 children who need it the most, excluding the ones who already have been chosen to participate in horse riding, will be having a weekly session throughout the year at the petting zoo with a professional animal therapist, who will supervise the sessions and teach the children how to take care and spend time with animals.