Bring It In - Israel
Sport is a powerful tool to connect people and build community. Bring It In - Israel’s sports-service learning program was created to give young Jews from outside of Israel the opportunity to utilize sports to connect with Israeli children and share that experience back home. Prior to founding Bring It In – Israel, I worked in Israel with PeacePlayers International – Middle East (PPI-ME), a program that uses basketball to unite and educate children and their communities. PPI-ME always received more volunteering requests than it could handle.
The volunteers who had the opportunity to take part in PPI-ME found it very rewarding, made meaningful connections with the children, and brought their experiences back home with them. I founded Bring It In – Israel to supply more opportunities for sports-service learning in Israel.
PresenTense was an excellent launching point for my venture. PresenTense connected me to my first client and provided me a forum to market Bring It In – Israel’s successes. I also have had the opportunity to partner and bounce ideas off the fellows from my PresenTense cohort. My PresenTense mentor recently was very helpful with a related program with which I am involved, Netanya Hoops For Kids.
Netanya Hoops For Kids utilizes sports and the status of professional athletes in Israel to build community and teach children life skills. During Bring It In – Israel’s 2010 Winter Fellowship, we were able to work with Barak Netanya, Netanya’s professional basketball team. I look for Bring It In – Israel to partner with the Netanya Hoops For Kids program again next year, offering young Jews on long-term Israel programs the opportunity to do sports service in Netanya with schools, afterschool programs, and youth sports leagues.
Bring It In – Israel was recently recognized as one of the causes of the National Hillel Basketball Tournament composed of 350 players from 22 universities. With the help of The iCenter, we conducted our first fellowship this past winter, composed of eight North Americans from five different longterm Israel programs. These fellows are currently completing their long-term Israel programs. Upon their return, we hope they will run Israeli sports-education activities for children in their communities.
The main challenge I face with Bring It In – Israel is finding a sustainable business model. While the Bring It In – Israel program lends itself to several different business models, I have yet to settle on one.
My advice to graduating fellows is to utilize the PresenTense community. The community of coaches, mentors, and former fellows has a wealth of knowledge, and it offers a network of individuals and programs with whom to partner. PT