The Girls Graduate Program is an extension program for young women, aged 21 and above, who graduated from the Afternoon Program and are now living with their families or in sheltered housing. The purpose of the program is to continue supporting these girls and reinforcing the lessons they learned during their years at SHALVA as they begin to live more independent lives.
• Acquiring social skills and forming normative and appropriate social connections
• Filling leisure hours with meaningful activity
• Reinforcing personal independence
• Encouraging and developing a sense of personal responsibility; some of the graduates work with the younger children during the day, while others help with maintenance - laundry, dishes, etc.
This framework promotes social interaction by employing a variety of interesting fields and workshops, such as drama, sewing, cooking, sing-alongs, nature, music therapy and animal therapy. Under the guidance of a psychologist, the girls engage in meaningful discussions pertaining to societal interaction, with special emphasis on normative behavior, personal independence, sexuality, self-image and addressing oversensitivity.
Studies indicate a high degree of vulnerability among female special education graduates and SHALVA endeavors to provide them with tools necessary to handle unexpected and unfamiliar behavioral norms and, when necessary, rebuff them. The program stems from the determination to empower these young women in a world that is often cynical and not as protective as SHALVA and the home of their parents.
SHALVA's message for these young women is: "You are not alone, and we want you to have a safer and better future."