Olamot is a multifaceted service for young girls at risk in Jerusalem. The service dates back over fifteen years, when one Jerusalem family, the Finkels, first started hearing of cases of young women from the religious community who had no place to call home. The family began by opening their home to these girls; but, over the next few years, it became clear that these were not isolated cases; and in time, the family found itself mobilizing a network of households from across the community to open their homes as well.
By 2005, when Olamot was formally founded, a treatment staff was already in place to provide therapy and assistance to a dozen young women each year. “Olamot – Housing and Support for Young Girls At Risk” (Israeli Amuta, no. 580464188) began as a treatment facility, to which we soon added our high school. The former is now one of its growing network of dormitories for young women at risk from the religious community.
Young women at risk are a diverse population. In the religious community, they may be young women who are simply unable to secure longstanding living arrangements. But they may also be young women whose parents do not feel they can control their behaviors, or, sometimes, young girls from highly dysfunctional homes. Whatever their story, they will require professional intervention and assistance if they are to ensure some level of stability for their lives, and stay on the right path.
Olamot’s operational strategy is to create special frameworks for each special needs group we identify from among the wider community of young girls at risk.(Click here for a schematic overview of our services.)
Our vision is to ensure a stable environment that will ensure these women are able to effectively move on.
The dormitory experience is meant to bring girls together as part of a bonding social experience (a home away from home – and for many, the only home they have ever known). Our treatment model recognizes that for most of these young girls, family crisis creates both emotional and behavioral problems that in turn disrupt their progress in school and the community. Our program is therefore built on four tiers: (1) guidance, education and vocational training; (2) close-mentoring by one of our program staffers and social workers; (3) ongoing group and individual therapy; and (4) contact to restore, as much as possible, family relations. We know these young women will eventually want to build healthy, productive lives in the religious community. Our program is designed to help them do this – to build up their competence, maturity and skills – on their own.