Shoulder to Shoulder is an organization founded to create a meaningful change in Israeli society through helping distressed families break the cycle of poverty. One of Shoulder to Shoulder’s primary goals is assisting families in reestablishing themselves as functioning members of society. The organization offers broad support to families from all facets of the Israeli population within the bottom socioeconomic tier of society through providing educational needs, medical needs and more. Our experience is that effective intervention requires comprehensive and intensive work at the root levels through ongoing holistic accompaniment for a period of one to two years.
Shoulder to Shoulder has created a unique, innovative program that offers a multifaceted, holistic solution to absorption and/or poverty adversities. As opposed to solutions that rely on social welfare support, this program enables families to shift from a position of dependency to one of growth and independence. The model is operated with relatively minimal new expense; it is primarily based on promoting the effective utilization of the community’s existing resources and services. The program operates by means of a “Katef Center,” comprising 20 families with common, related problems. Each center is headed by a “family trainer,” responsible for the treatment of the 20 families for the duration of one year. At the beginning of the process, each family and trainer jointly formulate a family vision that includes measurable goals based on four main features of family life: Quality of life, Proper Economic management, Education and Employment.
The “family trainer” examines the family’s particular needs, identifying strengths and weaknesses, as well as major factors preventing them from achieving independence. Together, the family and its trainer develop a year’s work plan, gradually transferring all responsibilities onto the family. After a year, the family accepts full responsibility for its own life with the ability to measure its achievements of the determined goals. The trainer is professionally accompanied, instructed and assisted throughout the entire process by occupational psychologists, social workers, and others. As the training year comes to an end, the family and the trainer plan a program for the following year. By the end of the program, the family is no longer intensively supported by its trainer, but instead remains in communication once every few weeks to ensure the achieving of its goals and continued growth towards social and financial independence.
A follow up process for all the families that have completed the program is being developed.
A staggering 90% of the families we have accompanied have joined the workforce. Their children received educational enrichment, tutors and private lessons, showing significant progress in their educational achievement. These families experienced marked improvement of their quality of life: Shoulder to Shoulder assisted them in their basic needs such as food, clothing and electrical appliances, giving them well thought out guidance which led to independence and proper management of households.
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