Screening & Referral Program
Context and Background
Residential education in Israel consists of a system of children-centered communities that serves many thousands of economically and socially disadvantaged youth. Created originally to house children fleeing the Holocaust, the programs were based on a hybrid of the kibbutz model and traditional European boarding schools. The programs have been adapted over the past 65 years to meet the changing demographics and needs of Israel’s citizens and new immigrants. Currently, the 60 youth villages in Israel under the auspices of the Ministry of Education serve a heterogeneous mix of students consisting of disadvantaged Israeli youth, and immigrant youth primarily from Ethiopia and the Former Soviet Union.
Significance of Screening and Early Detection
Because the evidence that learning related vision and hearing impairment can be prevented to any substantial degree is conclusive, the emphasis is on early detection. Children in poor and disadvantaged urban environments have a significantly greater rate of vision problems, and that uncorrected vision problems worsen over time, often resulting in permanent vision loss. Early detection and treatment of vision problems is therefore essential in optimizing children’s health and development.
Problem and Need
Israeli youth village residents do not receive regular screening for vision and hearing problems. Unidentified and untreated hearing and/or vision problems have been shown to interfere with the education and the social and emotional development of youth village residents. The primary objective of the Israel Youth Village Screening & Referral Program is to screen youth village residents for hearing and vision problems and ensure they are provided with glasses and other follow-up care as necessary. With growing evidence that learning-related vision and hearing problems can be prevented to any substantial degree; the emphasis is on early detection.
Results of initial screening missions to four sample villages in 2011, showed the clear need for the program. A screening and documentation process as well as follow-up protocol were developed and tested in a 2012 pilot at the Goldstein Youth Village in Jerusalem. After these initial visits, JHI was approached by the Israel Ministry of Education (MOE) with a request to expand our program into all 60 MOE-administered youth villages in Israel. JHI plans to visit all 60 youth villages, and provide vision and hearing screening for 18,000 youth currently residing in these villages. This will require sending approximately 45 missions over the next several years, with additional follow up missions to screen all new arrivals.
Five-day missions are scheduled twice, every-other-month, during the school year (October-June). Villages are selected based on need priorities established by the MOE. Mission teams include three volunteers, with a minimum of one healthcare professional, as team leader. One team member conducts the vision screening, one conducts the hearing screening and one records and collates data. Programs begin on Sunday afternoon, with a orientation and training at the youth village. Volunteers screen approximately 80-100 youth village residents per day. Volunteers are housed and eat their meals at the village. Most missions spend all four screening days at a single village. Sometimes, two smaller villages are visited during a single mission.
We are currently recruiting for this program
Each volunteer screening team will be led by a healthcare professional, preferably a pediatrician, ophthalmologist or family medicine doctor. Additional team members can be either medical or non-medical, and will be responsible for both conducting screenings and data collection. Volunteers teams spend five days at an Israel youth village, screening residents for vision and hearing problems. Upcoming missions are scheduled for January, March and May of 2013. (See Missions Calendar for exact dates.) Volunteers are responsible for their airfare and a $500, tax-deductible mission fee. JHI covers all living expenses.
Apply for a mission
To apply for a program please email your CV to: email@example.com. You can either submit an online application, or download an application form (pdf) and email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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