Always Someone There Who Cares
Many of the children who live at Zion Blumenthal come from homes where one or both parents passed away, where one or both suffer from drug or alcohol addiction, mental illness, or live in dire poverty.
Most grew up with little or no parental guidance, while others were abused physically and emotionally. As a result, they often suffer from a serious lack self-esteem with no knowledge of what it means to be part of a loving and nurturing family.
Zion Blumenthal remedies the situation by giving the children a stable and loving environment. Our staff of counselors and therapists become the adult role-models these children never had.
The orphanage has a "big brother" program in which collage age students spend their afternoons at the orphanage providing lots of individual attention and emotional support. For many children, they feel that these young adults are the first people to take an active and ongoing interest in their lives. Gradually, they blossom and feel more and more secure knowing there are people who sincerely care for them.
Facing All Sorts of Personal Challenges
Since most ZO children had received little care and love, many suffer from serious emotional issues and disorders.
A team of professionals help the children overcome their personal challenges. The team is led by two educational psychologists who determine each child's psychological needs. Following the initial assessment, staff social workers and therapists develop a program which meets his needs. The social workers play a crucial role of ensuring each child is working towards the goals determined by the team. They act as the liaison between the children, their family and the orphanage staff.
The children experience psychological and emotional therapies in both group and individual settings. In addition, they receive Physical and Occupational Therapy, as well as Speech and Art Therapy; each child according to his needs. We also have our own campus mini-zoo where a professional Animal-Assisted Therapist works individually with each child who has difficulty expressing himself, in some cases not even willing say a word. Through the therapy he learns to share his inner world and switch from pure self-survival mode to caring for something outside of himself.
The Educational Needs of Every Child
Many of the ZO children are not scholastically on par with other children their age. Some did not regularly attend school, while others were never really given the opportunity of learning to read and write.
ZO arrives at an appropriate educational framework for each child to ensure he receives a high-level academic and Jewish education in order to maximize his potential. All of the children attend local schools recognized by Israel's Ministry of Education with some enrolled in regular classes while receiving supplementary tutoring. Others are placed in special-education classes designed to meet the unique needs of children who are dyslexic, suffer from different forms of low cognitive skills or are challenged with limited intelligence. Many of the children in special-education are eventually mainstreamed into regular classes with staff helping to ensure a smooth transition.
Creating Well-Rounded Individuals
Children from dysfunctional homes often miss out on the fun of childhood, never really having a chance to be kids.
Every afternoon ZO offers a wide array of extra-curricular activities that are fun and provide skills the children can use throughout their lives. These include:
- Computers - games, graphics, multi-media and commonly used programs
- Arts and Crafts
- Sports - gymnastics, martial arts, boxing, volleyball and much more
- Music - keyboards, guitar, drums and singing
- Caring for animals
Each summer ZO runs a special camp. Highlights include swimming, hiking, rafting, plays, a magician, clowns, science projects and an overnight excursion.
The kids also experience a variety of Jewish cultural programs including trips to Israel's holy sites, Shabbat and holiday activities as well as special bar mitzvah celebrations.
The High School: A Haven for the Struggling Adolescent
For most children, adolescence is not an easy. The challenge increases for a boy coming from a difficult socio-economic and emotional background. Our Rehabilitative High School is specifically designed to meet their special needs.
The High School's objectives include:
- Each boy's scholastic ability is actualized to the maximum through small classes and lots of personal attention. The curriculum includes a full range of subjects of which some prepare them for matriculation exams, while others provide exposure and training in possible long-term careers.
- Individual and group therapies are managed by our professional staff of psychologists, social workers and therapists. They help the boys cope with their problems, frustrations, fears and low self-esteem. Under their care, the boys reach emotional maturity and inner stability in preparation for a promising future. While acquiring self-discipline, they learn how to mainstream into society and be self-sustaining while learning to cope with all types of social demands.
Special Off-Campus Projects
- Every week the boys participate in a variety of voluntary activities including - visiting hospitals, assisting in organizations serving the disabled, and helping the elderly. They return content and gratified from their experience of giving to others and contributing to the community.