Eti, our Director, gave birth last week to a healthy baby (mazal tov). We are waiting eagerly for the results of a recent government tender for supporting activities for sight-impaired youth, which would be the basis of permanent funding for the program. B’Govah Einayim had a busy summer with 2 camps –one together with the Israeli Scouts and a second two day “Fun in the Galilee Camp”. Yael Perchi replaced Eshel Einav as Assistant Director of the program. Sadly, we also experienced together with Eshel the loss of his sister in a tragic car accident.
Our Hermon Group (the 8th group of Knafayim for Young Adults) moved to Nahariya after a successful communal year and a moving graduation ceremony of the Vadiot Group on the 12th of August. The counselors for the group will be Moy (a veteran employee of Kivunim) and Nofar , a recent graduate of Tel Hai College with a degree in Education. Michal Moler has replaced Adina Pearlman has the Director of the Knafayim Program for Young Adults. Adina will continue to head up the recruitment of new participants for the program and to do a Master’s Degree in the non-profit organizations in Jerusalem. The Tene (Hebrew for “basket of fruits”) group, the 9th Knafayim group, moved into the Knafayim communal residence in Bustan Hagalil on September 3rd. The group today includes seven members with the goal of adding three more by December.
*Omri, a recent graduate of the School of Social Work at Tel Hai, has replaced Avital Shani as Coordinator of the National Service Program, one of the elements of Knafayim. Omri will continue to build on Avital’s successes, in building connections in the community and developing innovative methodologies that matter for our constituencies.
Knafayim Haifa for Deaf Young Adults
The first five participants in the program held a graduation ceremony in Beit Buralei in Haifa at the end of August. The ceremony included stories of their two year journey including a film of their amazing trip to Paris in July. All five graduates have chosen to remain in Haifa, four of them renting apartments together and one who will continue living in a Kivunim apartment. The second group has now moved into the smaller apartments and the staff is actively recruiting new participants with the goal of welcoming four new participants by December, including a young “Returning Israeli from the USA” . A number of staff changes have been made: Aviv has moved to Tel Aviv and Rotem, a Kivunim veteran, has taken over. Oren, an impressive young man who is also hearing impaired has also joined the team. Tal is off to China and Miki, an educator who pioneered the mainstreaming of hearing impaired students in the Yagur Regional High School has taken her place as Program Director.
Knafayim Bogrim (23+)
The Knafayim Bogrim Program recruits candidates on a rolling basis. Maor, the Program Director has successfully recruited two new participants over the past two months and has a number of other potential candidates who will hopefully join in the near future. Amin, the first participant in the program finished two weeks ago and has moved back to the Druze Village of Jatt. Raheli, the second participant is looking for an apartment in Haifa. She spent the last few months living on her own in one of Kivunim’s properties in Nahariya. Maor is joined by Nora who specializes in life skills training and Yaarit, a social counselor.
Graduate Programs(programs for Knafayim graduates)
The staff of Maor, Nora and Yaarit, together with senior staff member Vered Taller-Ofir, head up programs for Knafayim graduates. This includes graduates who share apartments and are involved in a study or work program and also graduates who have moved on but continue an ongoing connection with Kivunim,.
The Shop for Meaning
After much deliberation, the Shop for Meaning has reopened under the creative management of Iris Barabi. Iris and her team of volunteers have turned it into a center for vocational preparation, a first stop for many of our new participants. Kivunim took an important decision – that every participant should have a reason to wake up in the morning, a central grounding for their wellbeing and progress. The Shop houses a number of work stations, including sales, administrative and secretarial task, furniture repairs and restoration, helping local shop keeper s and the development of a large and impressive used book department.
Kivunim has entered into a new partnership with the Joint-Israel Unlimited Program. This is an individual mentoring program for people with various disabilities who are living in the area and are not involved in any type of work, study or social program. Recruitment is done with the help of the Department of Social Services. The goal – to provide information about the various options available in the area and to give the participants the tools to investigate possibilities and to guide them through the process.
Supportive Housing Project
This is a second partnership with the Joint- Israel Unlimited. The Project is led by Tali Rapport, an occupational therapist. The goal is to build a support system for adults with various disabilities who choose to live independently in the community. The program includes guidance in locating a suitable apartment, guidance in adapting the apartment in terms of accessibility, connections to community based services, a counselor who specializing in training for independent living, and emergency services. The program will also include social events and outings.
This program is an after school enrichment program for hearing impaired and deaf children. Kivunim, together with staff from the Yagur Regional School will be opening up an afterschool enrichment program for up to 25 middle school students (ages 12-14). The program will run three days a week for three hours each time.
Simane Derech, which means” Direction Signs” in English, is an afternoon workshop whose emphasis is on preparation for the world of work. The workshop meets once a week at the Yagur School and the participants include fifteen hearing impaired and deaf high school students.
Events at Kivunim
Following the summer graduation events and a few days of rest, the Kivunim staff met for three days of staff preparation including orientation to all aspects of the organization, sessions on health, security, safety , transportation, and administration. Each individual program staff met to build a work program for the beginning of the year and created a Kivunim calendar for the new year, which includes major events for the year, outings, parent meetings and holiday events.
+September 3, Bustan Hagalil: The Knafayim program held its traditional “lowering and raising of the flag ceremony”. This is when the second year group officially leaves the communal house and passes the keys to the rookies. There are speeches, some inspirational music and then pizza on the grass.
+ September 16-Rosh Hashana: Together with Hugla, a paper goods factory located North of Nahariya, we organized a Rosh Hashana celebration for participants, staff and volunteers. Over the years Hugla has volunteered to paint and help maintain our residences. For the past two years we have celebrated the New Year together with good food, good music, dancing and good friends.
Other Thoughts and Reflections
*Recruitment and marketing: Today we find it easier to recruit participants for the older Knafayim program than for the younger program. We are still unable to access the information needed to contact younger candidates, as the Education Department provides only statistics and not actual names of beneficiaries. Any and all suggestions and ideas for how to access this information would be greatly appreciated.
*We have begun working with younger participants in the hearing impaired and deaf communities. Our motivation is both educational and rehabilitative as we hope to build a continuum of services and to recruit potential candidates earlier.
*The return of veteran Kivunim staff members: A number of former social counselors who have gone on to study are returning to Kivunim and taking on central leadership positions. Kivunim welcomes this trend and hopes it will help build the future leadership of the organization.
*Kivunim is now nearing its first decade Just as a child grows and develops, we too are searching for the balance between conservativeness and inventiveness.
A Happy and Healthy New Year,