Living Safer Living Longer

Working Together, Working Separately to Help Jerusalemites Live Safer, Live Longer

We wrote here about introducing the Living Safer, Living Longer program into the Haredi community in Jerusalem. But really, the program is not just in the Haredi sector, it’s being developed simultaneously in the Palestinian population, and in the ‘general’ (religious / secular Jewish) population. We’re especially excited about this new model for effective activism – each sector is focusing on preventive health / home safety, but each sector is developing, designing and refining the program to meet the specific needs of that community. All three sector share information and lessons learned, but the program is developing uniquely in each sector.  It is the community itself, through the volunteer Lead Teams – not the professionals – who are leading the way.

Volunteer Lead Team hearing about self breast exams from a nurse from the Bishvilech organization

Haredi Volunteer Lead Team hearing about breast self-exams from a nurse from the Bishvilech organization

We’re now getting down to business in all three sectors. There have been 5 meetings of the Haredi volunteer Lead Team, which chose to focus on preventive medicine. Thus far, they’ve learned about different issues affecting babies and toddlers, to youth, to women and seniors. Some of the lectures were given by nurses from the local well-baby clinic, and others from the Bishvilech organization, is the first and only woman to woman nonprofit organization in Israel focused on preventive medical care. (One of the lecturers was a female Haredi doctor, whose husband studies in Yeshiva, and who works at Sha’are Zedek hospital and volunteers with United Hatzalah emergency response organization. We thought she was really cool.) The team is currently in a learning stage, and are also considering learning about home safety as well. As the learning process progresses the team will come up with a checklist that will be used when going into people’s homes.

The West Jerusalem team (religious and secular Jews) has also had five meetings. They chose to focus on home safety, and learned about home safety for children from the Beterem organization, and learned about home safety for senior citizens from the Milbat organization. (They also tried out Milbat’s phone app for home safety for seniors.) They’ve already devised a checklist, and are in the process of revising and refining it. Members have even designed a logo (we’ll share it when it’s final), and are networking to bring in more participants into the program.

Introducing Living Safer, Living Longer to MiniActive women in East Jerusalem

Introducing Living Safer, Living Longer to MiniActive women in East Jerusalem

And on November 8, we held the first meeting of one of two Arab East Jerusalem teams. This 20-woman team is from the MiniActive program, one of East Jerusalem’s largest networks of volunteers, which has been working since 2012 to improve infrastructure in East Jerusalem. In this introductory session we presented the program, its importance and its principles. Right now they’re also focusing on home safety, and the next meeting next week will feature a lecturer from the Beterem organization, who will talk about home safety and children. Until then, the women were asked to photograph a place in or around their homes and ask themselves if this area really is safe for children. How would you do in such as test?

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Living Safer, Living Longer – Introduction Night in Ultra-Orthodox Haredi Ramot

Isn’t it nice when someone gives you a helping hand? This helping hand becomes even more significant when talking about preventive health and home safety, where that help can save your life, or the lives of your loved ones.

Speaking about Health in Ramot

Speaking about Health in Ramot

According to the Israeli Task Force for Advancing Preventive Medicine, “Modern medicine has found solutions to many medical problems, but it has not found cures for most chronic illnesses. Advancing health in the population and preventing sickness are therefore an important part of medicine today.” The Beterem organization reported that in 2014, 40% of all child fatalities caused by accidents took place in the home.

Over the past few months the JICC has been developing Living Safer, Living Longer, a program to improve preventive health and home safety in all of Jerusalem’s populations. Based on the highly-successful Pa’amonim model of individual financial coaching and mentoring for home financial health, Living Safer, Living Longer seeks to provide individual mentoring, classes and workshops. Volunteer mentors will review standard checklists for major health measures such as vaccinations for children, tests for common chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardio-respiratory problems, and periodic blood tests and other procedures such as mammograms and colonoscopies. Checklists for safety measures will include childproofing homes with small children, appliances, general repair, etc. Mentors will follow-up with families periodically, to track their progress, and offer assistance when necessary in installing safety measures.

Utilizing our knowledge and experience working with all Jerusalem’s populations – religious, secular, Ultra-Orthodox Jewish and Arab, we are developing sections of the program that are culturally sensitive and adapted to each segment of the population. And of course, we are drawing on the knowledge and expertise of the Ministry of Health, the Department for Public Health at the Jerusalem Municipality, the Beterem organization, all national HMO’s, well-baby clinics, and more.

Women were fascinated by the evening

Women were fascinated by the evening

An integral part of the program is developing a volunteer Lead Team, that will plan, develop, implement – and ultimately, sustain – the project within that community. Thus, while the ‘general’ sector Lead Team is working citywide, in the Haredi sector, we’ve decided to concentrate on the Ramot neighborhood. And in order to recruit members of the volunteer lead team, it was decided, together with community professionals who were very excited about the initiative, that we will present the project at a women’s health night that took place on July 26 at the Ramot Community Center. The evening include a lecture by a General Practitioner about the importance of preventive medicine, as well as a lecture by Chani Weinroth, a renowned author and lecturer who spoke about her journey in battling cancer, the signs she saw and ignored, and how she copes today.  There were over 200 women who came to the evening, and of them, 10 were interested in joining the project, which is exactly the group-size we need to work with in this neighborhood. We’ll keep you posted!

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