All Money Raised goes Directly to ELEM’s Israel-based Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Sexual Violence Among Children and Youth
New York — (June 26, 2012)— Over 75 guests gathered in five upscale residences across the NYC metro area to raise over $12,000 for ELEM’s Center for Prevention of Sexual Violence. The center works to treat sex offenders from young children to the age of 18. This was ELEM-Entry NY’s fifth Community Dinner to raise money for distressed Jewish and Arab Israeli youth.
“Once again the vibrant community of young professionals for Youth in Distress in Israel proved there’s no need to spend money in order to raise money,” stated Nitzan Levy, co-chair, ELEM-Entry NY. “Guests of our Community Dinners are being swept away by the stories of the youth and the enthusiasm of the ELEM-Entry NY volunteers. We engage them into the circle of giving to ELEM for life.”
Guests were overwhelmed when they viewed this video, featuring parents talking about how ELEM willingly made a difference in their children’s well being.
The program operates centers in Tel Aviv, Afula, Shfaram (Arab community), Har Hevron (national religious community) and B’Nei Brak (Ultra-Orthodox community). The centers conduct diagnostic services and group, individual, and family therapy for young sex offenders and their families.
In 2011, ELEM treated 124 sex offenders aged 5-17 and, in many cases, their families. The Center’s information hotline received over 200 calls. The program often coordinates educational and / or therapeutic groups in schools and prisons and workshops for teachers, social workers and parents.
ELEM-Entry NY’s volunteers, a group of NYC-based American and Israeli young professionals, arranged the dinner. They secured residences and worked with the homeowners to prepare delicious feasts. Each home was filled with attendees interested in learning how they can help distressed Israeli youth. Volunteers spoke about their visits to ELEM centers. Up-and-coming Israeli musicians entertained guests throughout the evening. All food, cocktails and entertainment were donated free of charge.
ELEM was founded in 1982 by a group of American and Israeli professionals and lay volunteers to help Israel’s population of at-risk youth become productive citizens. Today ELEM is Israel’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to the treatment and rehabilitation of abused, neglected, and adjudicated Jewish and Arab Israeli youth. The youth ELEM serves face tremendous hurdles; many live below the poverty line or struggle to assimilate as new immigrants. With a network of 250 professionals and almost 2,000 volunteers, ELEM is able to reach tens of thousands of youth each year. ELEM provides a unique brand of non-judgmental, innovative aid including group and individual therapy, mentoring, occupational and educational placement, and vocational training. ELEM also operates a wide network of counseling and support centers, as well as a fleet of outreach vans that take to the streets to reach the hidden “children of the night”.
Mitchell Slepian, +1.718.984.0817, email@example.com
Below are letters from a parent and child discussing how ELEM has made a positive difference. Additional letters are available upon request. Interviews are available with ELEM staff working with the children in need. Dinner photos are below letters.
I am… Adam, 12.5 years old.
I sexually abused when I was 11 years old. I sexually abused a girl name Eva.
I think it is very important that there will be many places across the country where kids like me can get treatment that can help them not to sexually abuse again.
I feel that the Center is helping me a lot, as I am learning a lot here about myself and my family. We talk a lot here (me and my parents), about things that we do not have the courage to talk about at home.
When I am here alone I am learning about myself, and understand that what I did is sexual abuse.
I know that some people say that kids who are sex offenders should not be getting treatment, but rather they should be thrown out to jail. I disagree with those people, because this is too cruel, and besides, when they come out of jail they can do it again, because nobody ever taught them how not to do this. And then they will go back into jail, and come out and attack again. Also, we are still young kids, and kids deserve another chance to learn how they can change, just like I am doing here.
If there will not be a place like this, then many kids will attack and go into jail, and also, many other kids will be attacked and suffer very much.
A letter from a mother
I am the mother of a 12-year old child who sexually abused a six-year old child.
A year ago, we arrived at the “Center for Prevention and Treatment of Sexual Violence”.
Following an assessment of his level of danger, my son started treatment, which is now close to ending.
When I was a little girl, I was sexually abused myself, and back then the adults around me who knew about this would not let me report this, out of fear of the disgrace to the family.
I was left alone to deal with the pain and trauma, without getting any treatment or psychological support that would allow me to deal with what I’ve gone through. I never complained, and obviously the attacker never got caught and punished, and also never got any treatment that would help him stop attacking.
He hurt me and possibly also other girls.
When I found out that my son was sexually violent with another boy I felt awful- I was full of emotions and bad thoughts, although I tried staying strong and optimistic. I felt fear, anger, and sympathy for the child who got hurt, and also a lot of guilt for not knowing and not watching my son, and allowing him to watch everything he wants on TV (after that I realized that he was watching sex channels on cable TV behind my back).
My son was sexually violent a short while after his father passed away unexpectedly. I was left alone with three little kids and was busy surviving and trying to stay alive and running away from the misery and loneliness. I guess that in my own distress I was not aware enough of my own child, and for that I feel guilty.
Knowing that my son sexually abused another child hit me like thunder and I did not know what to do and how to cope. I felt that, in addition to the already existing difficulties, this thing reopens wounds from the past and makes everything even harder.
I told very few people, and most of the responses were anger at the victim and his family for complaining, and outright statements that the whole issue should be completely ignored.
Because of my past experience, I felt that people should not ignore this issue, and that these issues have to be cured from the roots of the problem, no matter how painful it was- I was not angry at the boy who was attacked because I was once in his situation, and knew exactly what the victim feels like.
It is clear to me that if you do not treat it, it does not stop, and if it does not stop, there are more victims and I know, I have experienced on my own flesh, what it’s like to be a victim.
Today, as my child has almost finished his treatment, I feel that both he and I are beneficiaries. I see what he is getting there and I am even envious of him for having a place like that, where somebody listens to him, and guides him and teaches him how to control himself and his behavior, and also how to express his feelings in a positive way that is not harmful for him and others.
I see improvement in him in all aspects- he is less looking for things that are related to sex on the TV, much calmer, less violent, and no longer keeps his anger inside him because he knows that there is a place where he can say everything without fear, as he is really loved here and people here want the best for him.
I always tried to be optimistic and think positive, because I knew that my child needs me to be strong. It was obvious to me that there was no point in denying it because it can only hurt my child.
Today, I am much more optimistic and feel that at the end of the day, we gained a lot.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.