A Personal Adoption Program
for Teenage Girls at High Risk Choosing a New Way of Life
Every year, the TELEM Center in Jerusalem provides treatment for dozens of at-risk teenage girls from the ultra-Orthodox and Orthodox sectors. The girls, who drop out of their educational frameworks, deteriorate onto the streets and lose contact with their families, receive first responses to their crises through the various programs. However, in the absence of ongoing support, they are likely to return to an environment of social and emotional neglect and other risk situations.
Approximately 30% of the girls at the center come from particularly difficult and complex backgrounds. Experience has shown that these very girls, who have gone through the most painful situations , have high personal potential, if only they were to undergo a significant corrective experience in an inclusive framework.
If we give them more, they will experience greater success.
About the Program
The Safe Shore Program is a holistic project through which carefully selected teenage girls receive accompaniment, support, empowerment and individually customized tools in a range of fields. The program is formulated and conducted by a professional team (including a clinical psychologist, a social worker and a social counselor), and addresses a number of issues: therapy, academic reinforcement, financial aid and empowerment programs. Safe Shore enables the teenage girl to return to a normal, healthy life, integrate into society and make the most of her personal abilities.
- To locate girls from difficult backgrounds, possessing particularly high levels of personal and professional ability.
- To leverage their harsh experiences into strong self-belief.
- To give them an anchor, a broad support framework and a complete toolkit for integrating into the community and society.
- To transform them into leaders and “agents of change” who will eventually be able to help other girls in similar situations.
About the Program Operator
The TELEM Center operates a system of professional programs and services to advance young girls at risk, using a holistic approach and with the aim of instilling in them hope for new life. The center’s management has rich experience and an impressive record in the field:
Operating a large continuum of services which – within a decade – have produced: youth centers, protected housing, a high school, and more, overcoming a host of educational, budgetary and bureaucratic challenges.
Initiating responses (formal and informal) for teenage girls at risk.
Success among girls who received extensive personal attention – 75% managed to significantly rehabilitate, learn a profession and integrate into the workplace.
Cooperation and support from the Ministry of Education, the Jerusalem Municipality and foundations.
Unprecedented relationships with the rabbis and communities – engendering trust, support and full cooperation on the way to producing a host of programs suited to the girls’ needs.
Girls aged 16-20 from Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox backgrounds, from the Jerusalem area, in particularly harsh at-risk situations:
- Wandering/living on the streets
- Experienced abuse in some form
- Unsure of their own identity and suffering from a lack of family backing
- Dominant personalities – future potential to effect change
- 75% of the girls will complete full matriculation and 12 years of study, after 2-3 years of being in the program.
- 90% will attain 80% of their personal goals.
- Three years after finishing the project, each girl will have made progress in one or more of the following areas: education and significant professional development / work in meaningful employment with advancement options / developing a healthy and stable marriage / contributing to society in a significant way by volunteering or working in a social organization or being part of a supportive framework for young girls at risk.
To achieve the program’s aims, we have drawn up an organized and structured action plan:
- Locating 15 girls participating in a TELEM Center program who fulfil the following criteria:
- Background of deep crisis
- Lacking family backing
- High personal motivation to come to terms with her situation
- Socially dominant with high personal potential
- Commitment for at least 6 months in one of the TELEM Center frameworks.
- Providing a personalized response to each girl:
- Individual mentors – to mediate between the girl and her needs and the relevant bodies,
on a daily basis - 6 hours a week.
- Therapy calls/treatment follow-up – after progress and strengthening the relationship with the family –
2 hours a week.
- Study reinforcement – another 4 hours a week.
- Empowerment workshops – according to professional team recommendations.
- Vocational accompaniment and advancement – 4 hours a week.
- Guidance and assistance in vocational study – for suitable girls or graduates,
a grant including financial help, accommodation, etc.,
for those without family backing or a roof over their heads.
Measurement and Evaluation
The program team will conduct measurement and evaluation on a regular, organized basis with the various bodies accompanying each girl and in keeping with a “Balanced Scorecard” to be determined by the professional team:
- Monthly monitoring and quarterly evaluation relating to responsibility, consistency, study and tests, rejecting old survival habits, etc.
- Following the girls’ progress in terms of integration into society, community, study, employment, through to them setting up their own home.
- Marking their progress towards achieving their goals up to three years after completing the program.