(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Jerusalem is home to roughly 30,000 Jewish and Arab at-risk youth, ranging from drug-addicted and homeless teens, to those struggling with serious psychological and intellectual disorders.
Presently, there are three municipal administrations and dozens of NGOs involved in the treatment for this population. However, until now, those organizations largely worked independently, utilizing separate methodologies.
On Thursday, the Jerusalem Municipality and Jerusalem Innovation Team announced the appointment of three managers of in-house, at-risk youth to coordinate and streamline the capital’s various programs which aid that population.
The “JLM i-team” is a senior consulting group founded and funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies in 2015 to address major social and economic challenges in the capital that reports directly to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.
“When the Jerusalem i-team first began their work in our city, I knew immediately that I wanted them to focus on our at-risk youth,” said Barkat. “I have no doubt that the results of the i-team’s work in this area will have a great impact and will save lives in our city.”
The three unidentified youth managers, who will begin later this year, will organize and oversee activities and programs for at-risk youth in all sectors, as well as collect and coordinate ongoing data to maximize efficiency in ensuring timely and case-appropriate care.
“Improving treatment for at-risk youth has been at the core of our team’s mission since day one,” said Sharone April, director of the JLM i-team.
“It is incredibly gratifying to receive such positive feedback from the mayor and know that our work is going to be continued by not one, but three pairs of dedicated hands moving forward.”
According to April, the three managers will implement the “Neighborhood Roundtable Model,” which is currently completing its pilot phase in the ultra-Orthodox Bukharan neighborhood in northern Jerusalem.
“Using a cross-organizational team model, the i-team brought together all of the public bodies and organizations in the area that come into contact with at-risk youth, including municipal services, NGOs and government representatives, in order to pool information, generate usable statistics and come up with a unified neighborhood plan,” said April.
“The Bukharan neighborhood roundtable, numbering 40 participants, has thus far completed the population and program-mapping stage and set up four field teams,” she added.
“Having been determined successful, the Bukharan neighborhood pilot is now being replicated in six additional ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods.”
Developing and implementing neighborhood roundtable models across the capital for Arab and Jewish at-risk youth populations will be among the principal responsibilities for the incoming managers, April said.