Both Haredi boys and girls live in situations of risk, however, each group may express its distress differently and respond to different interventions. Haredi girls may be more likely to internalize their distress until it reaches crisis proportions or to express their distress through rebellious actions. Haredi education leaders have therefore recognized the need to introduce new methodologies to help school staff respond to the unique psychosocial needs of Haredi girls at risk effectively. Providing trainings for school-based professionals enables schools to broaden teachers' skill sets and help girls at risk.
JDC's Elaich program is a culturally sensitive, gender-specific approach to expand the emotional, academic, social, and familial responses by Haredi educators for their at-risk female students. The program reaches girls from grade one through grade twelve by giving educators the knowledge and tools to recognize signs of risk in their students, and to provide assistance to the girls and guidance to families. This program engages both parents and staff for the benefit of their students’ emotional wellbeing.
Elaich combines three program components:
•School Programs: One-on-one mentoring for female students, guidance for parents, and a four-year training program for teachers and student teachers in pilot schools
•Professional Development: A three-year program for professional leaders (principals, counselors, psychologists, and truant officers) who learn to work with students at risk and their parents.
•Specialization in Teacher Training Seminaries: Professional development courses for faculty members, courses for students studying education, and in-service training for teachers about working with underachieving and female at-risk students.
“Thanks to Elaich, we have changed the way we talk about troubled girls. We no longer say ‘there’s nothing to do with those girls.’ Now we look for ways to help them."
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