Yaelim is an innovative program launched by the Ein Yael Living Museum. The program, running from 2005, offers nature therapy to children and youth at risk or with special needs in Jerusalem. The treatment method combines elements of psychotherapy and creative therapy with challenges set in nature and ancient life living experiences. The activities take place outdoors, creating contact between the participants and the environment and equipping them with the skills needed to face their personal challenges and succeed in life. A strengthened social fabric and effective community support build communal strength for a modern and vibrant Jerusalem, in line with the Jerusalem Foundation’s vision for the next decade.
Yaelim helps youth from all backgrounds: religious and secular, Jewish and Arab – including those suffering from socioeconomic deprivation, domestic abuse and severe learning and behavioral difficulties. These teenagers, some of whom are living on the street or in shelters for homeless youth, have exhausted all formal educational options and are referred to Yaelim by community service organizations. Yaelim provides these youths with an alternative framework, operated through a continuum training center for nature therapy, a youth daycare center for at-risk youth, a behavioral club for adolescents with behavioral disorders, a rehabilitation nursery for special needs and training and employment groups for at-risk youth. This haven for vulnerable youth does not require an official referral and does not impose a time limit on the help provided.
Impact: Only last year 1,300 teens took part in one-time workshops and “in nature” activities at Yaelim, 121 youths participated in year-long nature therapy programs and 75 groups participated in sports challenges. Additionally, 80 sessions of the Ein Yael bicycling club took place and 3 Etgarim groups (extreme sports for the physically disabled) made their home at Yaelim.
Partners: Jerusalem Social Welfare Office