“I hope to gain the knowledge and the skills I need to be able to be a part of the solution that the girls need … I so want to know how to best communicate things like care, love and emes in a way that the girls who confide in me will actually take it in!”

This is what one Mechaneches in London wrote in her application to the new Mechaneches Training Program with the Menachem Education Foundation (MEF). She became one of 19 candidates chosen for the purposely small cohort, all of whom play the role of Mechaneches/Mashpiah in their schools.

Directed by Mrs. Dena Gorkin, founder and principal of Bnos Chomesh Academy in Crown Heights, this program aims to provide educators with tools to meet the non-academic needs of our teenagers. Inspired by the themes that the Frierdiker Rebbe incorporated into Klalei Chinuch v’Hadracha, this program focuses on the hashpaah and hadracha that educators can give students, ensuring that they can better meet all of their students’ needs.

The participating Mechanchos bring new strategies and perspectives to eleven schools in the U.S., Canada and England. Monthly webinars are presented by Mrs. Gorkin and guest presenters on topics ranging from social skills to crisis intervention. Between webinars, the cohort is divided into smaller groups that convene for real-life troubleshooting and mentoring with Mrs. Gorkin.

The first session helped teachers establish a connection with their students by guiding them to come up with “positive, specific and nurturing” ways to communicate. “It was practical and insightful,” said Mrs. Rochel Holzkenner, Mechaneches in Coral Springs, Florida.

“Teaching is more about relationships than imparting information to our students,” says Mrs. Tzirl Goldman of Bais Rivkah High School in Crown Heights. “What Mrs. Gorkin is teaching in this program is tremendously important, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it.”

MEF looks forward to offering further programming to address students’ mental, emotional and spiritual health and wellbeing. As the Rebbe wrote to one teacher, “A special connection and relationship [with students]… is the most appropriate means for imbuing children with Ahavas Hashem, and love of Torah and Mitzvos.” (אגרות קודש כ״ק אדמו״ר חי״ג ע׳ תכד)

To access recordings of past programming on this topic, contact [email protected].