Every Orr Shalom child is a survivor. Every one of them, in their short lives, has endured immeasurable pain, untold ordeals. In an effort to save them from severe abuse and neglect, the courts have removed them from their dysfunctional families. When the children come to Orr Shalom they are frightened, fragile and traumatized. Many are plagued with severe emotional, behavioral and learning difficulties. Orr Shalom’s challenge is to provide them with a compassionate, safe haven where they can tend their wounds, heal and grow up to be healthy, productive adults.
Living in an Orr Shalom home literally saved my life. I went from being a down and out victim to a young woman with goals and dreams
For over four decades, Orr Shalom has been working under the radar to save children at risk in Israel. They say it takes a village to raise one child. Raising 1,400 abused and neglected children and young adults requires much more. In a Herculean effort of care and mutual responsibility, Orr Shalom has joined forces with the Israeli government in order to develop innovative and effective models for out-of-home care and to ensure optimal professional development and management.
Today Orr Shalom provides support and guidance for 600 foster families. It operates 21 Therapeutic Family Group Homes for 230 children (ages 8-18), provides intensive engagement with 5 Emergency Baby Shelters for children up to 5 years old and runs a Safe Haven Camp for children who have no home to return to during vacations. Orr Shalom’s newest initiative cares for 18- to 27-year-olds who are just beginning to enter independent life.
“The child stands at the core of everything we do,” explains Naomi Liberman, VP of Orr Shalom. “We have built a continuum of safety and support that embraces and protects the child from the moment they are rescued from their dysfunctional family environment. Twenty-four hours a day, every day of the year, there are specially trained emergency foster families waiting to receive them and provide them with love and shelter for up to six months. We build a dedicated team around the child comprising psychologists, social workers, coordinators, and mentors who evaluate the child’s emotional, developmental and educational needs and develops a personalized plan to help strengthen the child.”
For those children who are less suited to be placed with foster families due to the nature of their experiences, Orr Shalom has established family-style Therapeutic Family Group Homes. Here, up to 12 children live with a family in a home staffed with therapists, mentors, coordinators and volunteers.
Shoshana will be aging out of the Home in three months, after calling Orr Shalom home for the past five years. Shoshana comes from a very violent background and was witness to ongoing and severe domestic abuse between her parents. When she first arrived at Orr Shalom she was angry and had no outlet for her emotions aside from lashing out at other people. With intensive therapeutic work, Shoshana has overcome these issues. Shoshana has no connection at this point to either of her biological parents and will be moving in with an elderly aunt. Already a part of Orr Shalom’s pre-graduate program for the past year, Shoshana will join the Beating the Odds Graduate Program when she ages out, which will provide her with continued guidance and resources as she adjusts to independent life. Shoshana has a very special connection with her National Service mentor, who is helping her to look into National Service options that could enable her to actualize her dream — to work with young girls at risk, and to give back!
“Our graduates grow up to be leaders of Israel’s society, their difficulties growing up mold them to be survivors and winners and they learn to give back just as they have been given growing up with us,” explains Naomi. “There is nothing more rewarding than seeing our children who were saved from abusive and dangerous environments, grow up to be strong, healthy, and driven young adults.”
Join this crucial battle — every child counts!