A unique project in northern Israel empowers special needs adults and instills within them a sense of independence through the supervised care of toddlers.
By Aryeh Savir, TPS
Special needs graduates of Tzohar Halev’s program in Rechasim, near Haifa, are participating in the first babysitting service in Israel for toddlers aged 2-6 who are cared for by loving and warm special needs adults, aged 21-40, with supervision by staff members from Tzohar Halev.
“Our aim is to integrate our children into the community and give them the tools for independent living and a sense of self-worth,” said Yisrael Kornick, CEO of Tzohar Halev.
“We decided to offer the residents of Rechasim a daycare service where our graduates could take part in, and this way everyone wins. Our graduates participate in work for the community, the parents are able to leave their kids, and the kids benefit from getting to know these special young adults who radiate warmth and love,” he explained.
One of the special caretakers shared with TPS how she helps the children with their games.
“I love them, they are cute and bring a lot of joy, so I love to watch over them,” she said.
She also loves it when the parents come to pick up the children when the day is over and tell her that thanks to her work, the children had a great time while they were free to go about their various obligations and responsibilities.
Another said that she “has lots to do” and that she is “very happy.”
One of the parents who entrusts his children to the special needs caretakers said that he did not expect his children “to cooperate in this new environment as they had never met a special needs person.”
It took his children three weeks, “but they now beg to go in every day,” he exclaimed.
Tzohar Halev is a non-profit organization that operates a network of special education institutions, rehabilitative work centers and housing facilities in Israel for some 1,300 special needs children.
The organization aims to give special needs children and adults a sense of self-worth and independence.
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