A Leisure Center for the Intellectually Disabled in Rishon Letzion

A Leisure Center for the Intellectually Disabled in Rishon Letzion

Background


Rishon Letzion is the fourth biggest city in Israel growing rapidly. The city has won a prize for developing services for the intellectually disabled serving all ages.  For the last couple of years, a social Center, for the intellectually disabled, has been operating  in the neighborhood of Ramat Eliyahou, within the community Center.  This Center addresses autonomous persons only.  About four years ago, another Center was established in the western part of the city, for moderate intellectually disabled, living in the community, who cannot attend the Center's activities by themselves, since they need transport. This center was established in collaboration with the municipality of Rishon Letzion and the Ministry of Welfare. It was renovated and refurbished by Keren Shalem and the Social Security.

A Social Center in the Nahalat Yehuda Neighborhood

Since the establishment of the  "Golda" Center in the western part of the city, the Akim Rishon Letzion branch had to deal with problems of lack of space in the Center. Consequently, it had to refuse candidates who wanted to join the Center. The city of Rishon Lezion has increased its population tremendously in recent years, and continues to develop rapidly especially in the eastern neighborhoods and in Nahalat Yehuda. We believe that leisure activities for intellectually disabled youngsters in the east, will facilitate the accessibility for the residents of these parts of the city.

AKIM ISRAEL leads the concept of inclusion and implements it in its services and activities. This concept calls for the inclusion of the intellectually disabled in the community. It aspires that the majority of the services supplied to the intellectually disabled will be an integral part of the services supplied to the general public. Akim promotes community based facilities and inclusive employment in the free market. AKIM promotes, as well, the construction of leisure centers as part of the community centers in various cities.

The municipality of Rishon Lezion, together with AKIM ISRAEL has located a building, next to a local community center  in which the  Center for the intellectually disabled could be established. There is a common court and  a nearby synagogue.  In addition to the new community center, a regional school, and an elementary school as well as a kindergarten are being built. We hope for future collaboration.

We believe that the location of the building, will enable us to fulfill our vision of including the intellectually disabled in the community, in an inclusive building in the city space where the residents of the city will be able to benefit from a social leisure empowering experience.

The Activity of the "Golda" Center in west Rishon Lezion

The Social Center "Golda" operates within the premises of the school Renanim in the western side of the city of Rishon Lezion. It is a warm home for social activities for 34 residents of the city, ages 21-60. It is open from Sunday to Thursday between 15:30-18:30. Since there is a space problem, The population attending the Center is divided into two groups of 17 members each. Thursdays, there is an outdoor activity for the 34 members. The Staff led by the Center's director, includes two social instructors as well as the lesson's instructors and volunteers.

Activity

The Center aims at creating a space where the members can enjoy the social interaction and diverse activities.  Upon arriving in the Center the members enjoy some free time (beverages, fruit or cookies) encouraging mingling and social interaction. Then, a group discussion follows led by the staff, where everyone has a chance to express himself and share his experience.  There are also regular lessons in psychodrama, sports and social games, arts and crafts, music, ceramics, walking groups, yoga etc. Thursdays they go out to the movies, to restaurants to the beach to museums or to bowling.  There are also close ties to the community through various groups such as "women circle" the scouts, music schools and a barbecue party for the Independence Day.

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