Project Focus: Street Work for Ultra orthodox Youth at Risk
In the past two and a half years, Elem's Street Work Field responded to a series of application received from leaders of some Ultra orthodox communities and a decision was made by the Board to expend Elem outreach to a newly recognized problem of detached and at risk youth in this closed and unique society.
An Ultra orthodox professional manpower was recruited to the HQ leading team of Street Work and Outreach Vans under our cultural sensitive approach, and a through ground work with fascinating learning was made (as it is continuing till this day) throughout the year by Elem Professional teams, to fully understand the unique social codes, and especially the specific difficulties that challenge distressed youth from Ultra orthodox closed communities.
At the same time we have acted to achieve 2 other goals: To be fully accepted by both the community and families, and to raise support and partners from the public sector to join us and increase the affect of our work and the ability to truly assist and make a difference.
Along with the Social Security's program "Back to the Community", and additional support from the Ministry of Welfare through the cities – we have already began to operate street work in 5 communities – where we have already recruited professional teams (men and women) who are out on the streets for several nights every week, and are about to expand the teams activity and add another evenings specifically for the girls.
Additional assistance to this activity is provided by donors from Toronto in Canada, who are funding scholarships for Ultra orthodox students/volunteers, trained and operated by us as part of the team.
However – one challenge that this team had yet not overcame – is meeting the part of Elem's share of the partnership regarding the designated Outreach Van to carry out the task properly.
Unfortunately, unlike other communities in Israel, this team can not be assisted with an Outreach Van that is using other close by teams, since the requirements of work in this community are for the van to be branded in modest manner. Furthermore, with our hope to expend this team's outreach with time, it is clear that a designated Van should be allocated for their work.
We are looking for a sponsor to this team which will enable us with his donation, to purchase, brand and modified a (used) van that will enable the team to reach out to youth at risk.
As time goes by and we are unable to deliver out share and provide the van as promised, we are facing the risk of our partners pulling out from the collaborated in a community that there is no doubt in their current need of assistance.
Elem's Street Work team will be most grateful for any support, as we will be honored to acknowledge the donor's generous support by placing its logo on the Van's door.
ELEM was founded with the goal of assisting youth at risk and in distress, extracting them from their situation and helping them find their place in society as adults and citizens who are self-sufficient and contribute to their families and Israeli society.
ELEM was founded by a group of professionals and volunteers from Israel and the United States, and was registered as a nonprofit organization in 1983.
Since then, it has developed into a nationwide organization specializing in identifying the hardships inherent in the daily lives of youth in Israel, and in developing and operating relevant and innovative programs to respond to them, while keeping in mind the unique needs of different population groups.
Provision of Social and Individual Services
Today there are about 2.5 million children between the ages of 0 and 18 in Israel ,a 350,000 of whom are living at various levels of risk.
ELEM is a real address for at-risk youth and helps them find their way back into the community. Every year, ELEM meets with tens of thousands of adolescents and provided ongoing treatment to approximately 20,000 of them.
ELEM employs 280 professionals in the fields of counseling and treatment. They work alongside about 1,700 volunteers. ELEM employees and volunteers go out and meet the youth wherever they are: at schools, in the afternoon in their communities, on the Internet, at specific activities during summer vacations, at entertainment sites and on the streets at night.
Programs for Various Types of Distress
ELEM operates in close to 40 towns across the country and offers programs for a broad spectrum of issues facing youth, including personal crises experienced by normative adolescents, dropping out of educational frameworks, difficulties related to absorption, social problems, family problems, struggles with identity and belonging, exposure and addiction to drugs and alcohol, vagrancy, violence, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, delinquency, prostitution and homelessness.
ELEM runs a number of different programs, including information and counseling centers for youth, a counseling and informational website, multicultural programs, a program for the prevention and treatment of sexual violence among children, outreach vans for vagrant youth, unique programs for girls at risk, employment rehabilitation and mentoring for juvenile delinquents, business initiatives, day centers for the homeless, a project for minors involved in prostitution, a center for female victims of sexual violence, and regional offices to develop community relations and promote community involvement.
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