AKIM Israel – in collaboration with The Hebrew University Hadassah School of Dental Medicine, and supported by Alpha Omega Foundation US, as well as by Henry Schein Cares – established a program to train young adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities in auxiliary jobs in the dental profession. During 2 years Supported Employment Program, at Hadassah School of Dental Medicine, in Jerusalem, selected persons with developmental and intellectual disabilities will study professional dental skills, in small groups. They will study theory, combined with simulations of real situations, followed by 3 months of practical experience in a proper workplace. Following the completion of the program – which includes Preserve teeth treatments to every participant – the alumni will be placed in the dental job market. The program is another component of AKIM Israel’s Inclusion vision which promotes the integration of people with developmental and intellectual disabilities in the community.
AKIM was founded in 1951 by a group of parents to facilitate the needs of their intellectually and developmentally disabled kids in Israel. Since then, AKIM developed into the leading advocate, as well as the largest and most comprehensive provider of programs and services for the developmentally and intellectually disabled population – regardless of their faith, ethnic background or gender – serving 34,500 children, teenagers, adults, and senior citizens, throughout Israel.
AKIM has built and operates 15 Group Homes in Israel providing supervised accommodation for 500 persons, 3 Group Homes are dedicated for the senior population with severe disabilities. In addition, AKIM owns and maintains 33 apartments (community-based housing) accommodating 4-6 residents each, living independently, with some supervision and support. AKIM operates 4 Daycare Centers serving 150 adults, suffering from severe cognitive disabilities.
AKIM Israel offers 3 types of employment frames, in meaningful work places and in an inclusive setting, providing employment and several work transition programs to 1,000 persons with minor disabilities. ‘Equal in Uniform’ – a unique collaboration with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), which enables intellectually disabled young citizens (18 years old) to serve in the IDF, is another important employment opportunity, offered by AKIM.
2 soldiers, of AKIM Israel’s ‘Equal in Uniform’ project, hosted by (former) President Shimon Peres, at the Presidential Palace, Jerusalem, during 2013 AKIM National Day.
35 afternoon leisure Clubs offering a variety of afternoon activities for approx.1,200 intellectually disabled of all ages are being operated, daily, by AKIM. Every year, AKIM offers an annual vacation for 1,000 developmentally and intellectually disabled employees, as well as for hundreds of people with severe cognitive disabilities. 200 children enjoy, every year, AKIM’s Summer Camps.
The Public and Community Advocacy department coordinates the activities of 66 branches (staffed with volunteers) throughout Israel, promoting public awareness, self-advocacy and actively supports the full inclusion and participation in the community.
The Legal Advocacy department leads the struggle for realizing and utilizing equal legal rights. AKIM operates 24/7/365 ”Parents for Parents” support line – provides ongoing emotional support and vital information to families with intellectually and developmentally disabled children and adults. And AKIM is the Guardian for 1,500 Intellectually Disabled people, who have been abandoned, orphaned, or taken out of their parent’s custody.
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