Kivunim: New Directions for Special Needs Youth in Israel, is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2003 by and for young people with disabilities. The organization currently provides services to some 300 individuals aged 10-40 with physical disabilities, sensory disabilities and chronic illness associated disorders, with normal cognitive abilities. Our programs and services are available to all sectors of society, regardless of religion or ethnicity.
The main goals of Kivunim are to advance and empower young people with disabilities through innovative programs that emphasize capabilities and strengths. The beneficiaries of our programs do not remain participants forever – they become doers, not the done-for. This reduces dependency on family and state services in the long run, thus contributing to the well-being of young people with disabilities in Israel, their families, as well as the entire Israeli society.
The organization operates a variety of programs that promote change on an individual, family, community and societal level. Our programs include rehabilitative social clubs, supportive housing, occupational training and unique programs that promote independence and integration into society. Our programs steer individuals with disabilities towards meaningful and productive lives and render them active agents rather than passive recipients of state services.
Kivunim's programs are developed in partnership with organizations such as JDC – Israel Unlimited and Ashalim and the Department of Rehabilitation of the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare. They offer sustainable and transformative opportunities by encouraging self-management, independence, identity exploration and development in peer settings.
Our programs include:
– Mechinot Knafayim (Wings Program): a two-year transitional program that bridges between the parents' home or institution for youth towards independent living. The framework combines group living, life-skills enhancement, volunteer work, academic study and vocational training and placement for young adults with disabilities aged 18-30. Throughout the program, parents are also prepared for their child's transition as they receive tools and counseling, and take part in joint parent-child activities. The program operates in three paths: high school graduates with physical/ sensory disabilities, young adults with hearing impairment/ deafness and young adults with physical disabilities.
– The Shop for Meaning: a unique vocational training center for young adults with disabilities, which offers hands-on internship opportunities and job skill enhancement in commerce and sales.
– Cycling Club: An active cycling club including tandems and special bikes for different types of needs. The club operates twice a week and includes 30 participants and volunteers.
– B’Govah Einayim – an informal youth group for blind adolescents/teens (aged 10-18) based on a youth movement model. Facilitated by teams of volunteers (students or discharged soldiers), the program provides peer socializing opportunities, social action projects and recreational activities.
– Simane Derech: An afternoon enrichment program for hearing-impaired and deaf youth. Its meetings are held 3 times a week, providing informal education activities and communication skills.
– Training Apartments: Kivunim's newest project, a part of Simanei Derech. Twice a week, 14 high school students with hearing impairments and deafness spend an overnight in a training apartment, acquiring and practicing life skills.
– Kivunei Derech: providing follow up and guidance for graduates in order to help them build and sustain a community of young people, who are united in their desire and commitment to lead meaningful and productive lives. The programs includes individual guidance, student and occupational services, community learning and social action involvement, formal and informal counseling, group activism/outreach efforts, social opportunities, and more. Currently, Kivunim provides alumni services for more than 60 Knafayim (Wings) graduates.
– Supportive Housing Project: this pilot project is held in partnership with JDC. It offers a support system for people with disabilities who live and function independently in the community, including assistance in locating an apartment and adapting it to meet one's needs, basic repairs, a 24 hour Hotline and counselor guidance
– Mentoring Program: for young adults with disabilities who live in the community. The program was established in partnership with JDC. Throughout its operation, Kivunim trains mentors who help young adults with disabilities identify and ascertain their needs, interests and goals and then formulate a plan for achieving these goals, including utilizing existing community services.
For more information please feel free to contact:
Gidi Zur, Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Michal Nitzany, Resource Development Director email@example.com