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Ra’anana Mayor Visits Israel Elwyn’s Ra’anana Occupational Training Center


L-r: Mayor Ze'ev Bielski at IE Ra'anana Occupational Training Center (OTC) with David Marcu, IE's CEO;  Electronic recylcing at OTC.

Eighty individuals with intellectual and other disabilities ages 21 and older come to IE’s OTC each day for services including employment and vocational training, therapies, rehabilitation and social activities.  A retiree program is also offered at the OTC.  An additional forty individuals work in the community, aided by IE’s support services to assist workers and employers to develop the range of employment available to people with intellectual disabilities in the competitive job market.  Each person receiving services from the OTC has a personal program, developed together with the individual so as to give full expression to his or her capabilities and employment aspirations. On March 23, Ra’anana’s mayor and former Knesset member, Ze’ev Bielski, visited Israel Elwyn’s Ra’anana Occupational Training Center (OTC).  During his visit, Bielski spoke with service recipients and staff and observed the OTC’s activities.  This was not the first visit to the OTC for Bielski, who is known for his involvement and efforts in the field of social services.  He was accompanied by Dr. Ruti Naor, Director of Ra’anana’s Social Services Division, and by Doron Bachar, Director of the Volunteers Department in the Ra’anana Municipality.

The OTC has over 15 contract work customers who look to the OTC’s workers to perform a range of tasks for their production lines, some on a steady basis and others periodically.  The work ranges from packaging, assembly and gluing to packing crates and pallets.  The products are varied:  cosmetics, baby activity pads, nursing pillows, bean bags, candy, toys, greeting cards, scented soap arrangements, plastic and fabric flower arrangements, and screw and label sets and electrical boxes.

The OTC also has an electronic recycling center which plays an important role in improving Ra’anana’s "green” quality of life.  Residents and businesses in Ra’anana bring their broken and obsolete equipment to the OTC, where the workers have been trained to safely dismantle each item into its components – glass, various metals, plastic, rubber, etc., for recycling and use by manufacturers in producing new consumer goods.

Therapies provided at the OTC include physical, movement, art and cooking.  Recreational activities include yoga, computer games, art, and gardening, all taught by professionals who volunteer their services.  Weekly social activities include:  outings to coffee shops to practice social and other skills (ordering and paying, etc.), discussions about holidays and their significance, weekly Bible portion study, and karaoke – a real favorite.  The OTC workers also go to local elementary schools to lead music, dance, sport and game hours and to participate in holiday parties with the children.  This past Purim, the OTC workers joined with local schoolchildren to package Purim baskets (mishlochei manot) that were distributed to elderly residents of Ra’anana.

Nine of the OTC’s workers with disabilities also participate in a self-advocacy group, gaining awareness of their rights - both general and as employees, and discussing subjects that interest or concern them while developing strategies to deal with them as informed citizens.

While at the OTC, the workers strive to learn the skills that will allow them to seek employment in the competitive job market through IE’s Supported Employment Program.  The program provides both employees and employers with the support of IE job coaches, who work to ensure mutual satisfaction and success.

During his visit, Mayor Bielski and the OTC’s workers discussed their work and their lives as citizens of Ra’anana.  In the electronic recycling unit, Bielski praised the workers for their cooperation with the community, pointing out the importance of their work and its influence on the city’s efforts to protect the environment.

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We'd love to hear from you! Also, please let us know in advance of your next trip to Israel and we will give you a tour of the Israel Elwyn programs.

You can also contact one of our North American offices: United States: (267) 225-5132 or Canada: (416) 649-1655.

If you would like to make a contribution either online or by check, please see the details below.

David B. Marcu, Chief Executive Officer

IE's mission is to develop and provide a wide array of supports and tools for people with disabilities, while constantly striving for excellence of service and the creation of a just society. Together with people with disabilities and society at large, we shall continue working as an innovative and cutting-edge organization.

Please support the work of Israel Elwyn to provide state-of-the-art services in the areas of childhood early intervention, rehabilitation, assisted living, vocational training and employment services for persons with disabilities by making a gift:

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American Friends of Israel Elwyn
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By check payable to:
American Friends of Israel Elwyn, PO Box 828284, Philadelphia, PA 19182-8284
Canadian Friends of Israel Elwyn, 74 Tycos Drive, Toronto, Ontario M6B 1V9

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Mail checks: payable to "Israel Elwyn", at 20 Henrietta Szold St., Jerusalem 9650200

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