The Adolescents group meets at Gan Hayeled Haifa and its Kiriat Haim branch in the evenings. The group comprises youth who have attained a specific level of independent functioning and so act in a more advanced and mature manner. Some of them study in the special education framework and some of them have finished school and are integrated into the workforce, living in sheltered accommodation in the community. All of them have an obvious and basic need for a social club where they can meet and take part in activities such as other regular youth of their age do.
Gan Hayeled has become their social club where they meet their friends, discuss experiences and issues of daily life, and go out together. The group consists of adolescents and adults with different cognitive challenges – people with mild to moderate mental retardation and people with other syndromes. Jews, Arabs, new immigrants and established immigrants come from Haifa, the suburbs, Acco and Carmiel. What unites them is the need for a valid social meeting place where there is integration between different people. Once a year the group goes on holiday for three days when the annual activities are summarized.
During the afternoon and evening social activities we teach and practice with the participants topics related to employer-employee relationships and relationships with work colleagues and develop skills related to living away from home such as personal care and hygiene, and managing a personal budget. Sex education and relationships between people, is discussed by a professional therapist.
Our aim is to accompany our adolescents on their first steps into the adult world and prepare them for an independent life living apart from their family.