The Quittman Center at Israel Elywn
Description of Project
Israel Elwyn (IE) Supported Living Services - on whose Jerusalem campus the Quittman Center is situated - provides support for the day-to-day life of adults with developmental disabilities who also have psychiatric, physical, sensory and/or serious health issues, and who need significant assistance. Residents range in age from 19 to 80 and are divided among three apartment buildings according to their level of functioning. 90% are native Israelis; the other 10% come from elsewhere in the world.
Located on the campus is a work-activity center, where many of the residents are taught basic work skills and appropriate work behaviors while producing a wide variety of products including ceramics, wooden items for the home, recycled writing paper and envelopes, and herbs and plants grown on site. These items are sold at malls and at fairs, and the residents receive the proceeds. Recreational activities including pottery, photography, psychodrama, music, gardening, making jewelry and various sports are available to all the residents, as well as activities in the community such as swimming, visits to museums and galleries, tours of Jerusalem, and sports competitions. The residents also organize and participate in holiday celebrations with their families.
Each of the three supported living centers has a professional director, case managers, direct support staff, and therapists from a variety of disciplines. Medical and dental services are also available. On-site professional clinics for women’s health and neurology also provide services to the community, and the program also offers a support group for parents and siblings. The Supported Living Services and most of the other Israel Elywn services are operated with the support of the Israeli Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services.
The Zvi Quittman Center is named for the late executive vice president of Bnai Zion, who devoted his entire life to humanitarian efforts in Israel.
For nearly fifty years, Bnai Zion members have opened their hearts to Israel’s citizens with disabilities. Waves of immigrants have brought more people requiring special services, and the need for special services has been on the rise over the past decade. The responsibility is too great for Israel to carry on alone.
Israel Elwyn foresees a society in which people with disabilities will be citizens with equal rights; a society in which we all aspire to determine our own future and way of life. Founded in 1984, Israel Elwyn serves daily more than 3,000 children and adults with disabilities living throughout Israel, with the goal of providing them with the tools to enable them to make decisions about their own lives and gain more independence in order to live and work in the community. Thanks to the support services provided by Israel Elwyn, thousands of adults now work at jobs in the community, and thousands of children and adults lead more dignified and productive lives of enhanced quality.
THE IMPACT OF BNAI ZION
The government of Israel and families do their utmost to provide support services of value for residents, but the costs involved in this effort require assistance from outside sources. The supported living centers must be continually updated and expanded to ensure an optimal environment, and the budget for staff must be increased to provide unparalleled treatment and ongoing therapy. Funds are also needed provide new equipment for training.
The Zvi Quittman Supported Living Center was built thanks to Bnai Zion, and comprises a number of apartments housing ten residents each, allowing residents to enjoy the privacy and opportunities afforded by a “less institutional” lifestyle. Each apartment has four bedrooms, a large living room, a fully-equipped modern kitchen, and a dining area. This departure from the previous dormitory-style of residence that prevailed in earlier years in Israel and elsewhere has greatly improved the quality of life of the residents, and has been instrumental in providing them with greater privacy and fostering their independence.
PLANS FOR THE FUTURE
Funds are needed to continue and expand the various important therapies for residents that enable their “mainstreaming” into the community and their opportunity to seek and find employment. There is a perpetual need for new equipment for vocational training. On a grander scale, the construction of modern, improved residential buildings will allow more residents privacy and a better quality of life.