United Hatzalah

United Hatzalah is the largest independent, non-profit and fully volunteer emergency medical services organization in Israel. With more than 2,500 medics of every socioeconomic and religious background, United Hatzalah provides the fastest medical first response in Israel - always free of charge.
Location: Jerusalem
Year founded: 2006

Description

Founded in 2006, United Hatzalah is the largest independent, non-profit and fully volunteer emergency medical services organization in Israel.  With more than 2,500 medics, paramedics and doctors of every socioeconomic and religious background, United Hatzalah provides the fastest medical first response in Israel.  Services are completely free and available to anyone who needs them – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  United Hatzalah aims to eventually reduce nationwide EMS response time to 90 seconds, savings thousands of lives during the critical window between the onset of an emergency and the arrival of traditional ambulance services.

The Jewish ideal of tikkun olam is at the core of everything United Hatzalah does.  In fact, the organization was initially founded on the belief that to save a life is to save the world and that everyday people can and should save lives if they have the tools and training to do so. Today, whenever an Israeli is in distress, our advanced GPS-based dispatch technology identifies the closest and most qualified volunteers to the scene of an emergency and routes those individuals through a mobile device application.


Adopt A Volunteer

About

Not everyone can volunteer to save lives in Israel, but anyone can support those who do.  Through United Hatzalah’s Adopt-a-Volunteer Program, everyday people across the world become a vital partner on every lifesaving call.  By adopting a volunteer or a team of volunteers, supporters provide the vital equipment and training needed to treat the more than 245,000 callers who need their help each year.

Adopt-a-Volunteer supporters receive periodic updates on their volunteer’s work, including details about how, where, and when that volunteer helped others in and around their community. No matter where you may be in the world, you can be certain that your adopted volunteer is caring for the injured and providing solace to everyday Israelis.  


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What is the mission and purpose of this program?

The Adopt-a-Volunteer program aims to support each volunteer by giving them the training, medical equipment, and operational support they need to save lives each day. 

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Program Description

The Adopt-a-Volunteer program allows individual supporters, families, corporations, and foundations the opportunity to become a vital
partner on every lifesaving call.  Without the essential equipment and
training that donor support provides, our volunteers would not have the
tools to treat he 245,000 plus callers who need their help each year.

Once you have adopted a volunteer, we will provide you with periodic updates on the volunteer’s efforts, allowing you to track how your generosity has a direct impact on other people’s lives.

VOLUNTEER SPONSORSHIP INCLUDES:

• EMT continuous training
• Medical trauma kit
• Medications and supplies
• Communication devices and infrastructure
• Safety vest and all-weather jacket
• Post trauma counselling
• Motivation events and support groups

Adopt a volunteer for 1 year:  $2,600

Adopt a team of 10 volunteers for 1 year:  $26,000

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Demonstrated Need

As United Hatzalah’s coverage area within Israel continues to expand, so does the need for vital lifesaving resources.  Daily call volume, once less than 200 calls per day, jumped to a high of 800 during last summer’s war with Gaza; that number remains elevated in light of a string of terror attacks and mounting external threats within the region.  To meet growing demand, we are augmenting our volunteer network to include more than 3,000 medics while also expanding and upgrading our dispatch center to efficiently route them to the scene of any emergency.  

Our volunteers’ capacity to respond to the needs of their communities, however, is directly linked to having the necessary medical resources to treat them. At the end of 2014, United Hatzalah conducted an assessment of the need for volunteers throughout Israel, focusing on call volume distribution relative to the existing volunteer network.  Particular attention was paid to parts of the South and other periphery areas that are most exposed to or at risk of attack.  In response, United Hatzalah has embarked on the Ready Medic Campaign, the goal of which is to recruit, train, and fully equip at least 600 new volunteers by the end of 2016. 


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Program Accomplishments

Initiated in late 2015, the Adopt-a-Volunteer program has already partnered more than 100 volunteers with individuals from around the world.  As a result, we have essential first-response medical coverage in some of Israel's most at-risk communities.

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How do you measure the success of your program?

The Adopt-a-Volunteer program will be measured first in terms of the number of new volunteers recruited, trained, and equipped.  In addition, we will look at outcomes: 

  • How many additional calls were answered? 
  • Has averaged response time improved?  
  • Are more communities served by United Hatzalah volunteers?


Finally, the program is intended to make donors an integral part of the lifesaving process.  We aim to foster a close relationship between the volunteer and supporter, including periodic updates on the volunteer's work and the impact that the sponsorship has had on them personally.

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Team Daniel Healing Arts Program

About

In the wake of a traumatic experience, many people find it difficult to put into words the complex thoughts and emotions that make up their experience; in these cases, artwork often tells the story much better.  Across all cultures, art therapy has been shown to be a powerful tool in resolving issues around post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

The Team Daniel Healing Arts program uses art as a therapeutic tool to help children and teenagers located in or near conflict zones recover from the effects of PTSD.

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What is the mission and purpose of this program?

The Team Daniel Healing Arts program provides children and teenagers living in chronically combat-affected areas of Israel cope with the trauma of war and violence.  Specifically, the program aims to achieve the following goals:

1.  Distribute 150 Healing Arts Kits within three communities located in Israel’s periphery region.

2.  Through the program, help to treat children and teenagers exposed to combat-related violence, as well as prevent future cases of PTSD among affected populations.

3.  Beautify communities using the artwork created by the Healing Arts Program.


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Program Description

The Team Daniel Healing Arts program uses art as a therapeutic tool to help children located in or near conflict zones recover from the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Working in concert with the nonprofit Artists 4 Israel, United Hatzalah will provide workshops for children in three kibbutzim / moshavim located in Israel’s periphery: Kerem Shalom, Nachal Oz and Saad.

Creative, arts-based approaches allow children with PTSD to express their thoughts and feelings without verbalizing their trauma or fears.  Together with traditional therapy, interventions like United Hatzalah’s Healing Arts Program focus on creating an environment in which children can work through their individual fears without threatening their feeling of safety.

The program serves to not only treat those already affected by past crises but to help prevent new cases of PTSD using art as a trauma-prevention tool.  Our art therapy program is tailored to each age group, utilizing modern art techniques for elementary school-aged children, as well as graffiti and street-art programs for teenagers.  Once complete, United Hatzalah’s Healing Arts project will not only brighten each child’s outlook but also bring light to the communities in which they live through large, public art installations created by the program participants.   


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Demonstrated Need

Studies conducted in 2015 show that at least 63 percent of children in the southern Israeli town of Sderot suffer from post-traumatic stress, due large part to the intense rounds of violence that have occurred in the past year between Israel and the Gaza Strip.  While communities further away from the border have as much as a minute and a half to reach bomb shelters, for communities closest to the border, sometimes only a few seconds are available as mortar shells are fired from close range. 

For the thousands of children who live in proximity to these conflict zones, United Hatzalah seeks to prevent lasting psychological damage by using art as a tool for healing.

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Program Accomplishments

To date, United Hatzalah has designed the Healing Arts Program in concert with Artists for Israel as well as the communities that will benefit from it.  As a result, the program may be implemented as soon as necessary funding is available.

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How do you measure the success of your program?

The aim of these therapies, and the measure of their success, will be to prevent or decrease the incidence of symptoms associated with PTSD in children, including nightmares, avoidance of certain places or people, and frequent behavioral outbursts.  In addition, the program aims to achieve the following goals:

1.  Distribute 150 Healing Arts Kits within three communities located in Israel’s periphery region.

2.  Through the program, help to treat children and teenagers exposed to combat-related violence, as well as prevent future cases of PTSD among affected populations.

3.  Beautify communities using the artwork created by the Healing Arts Program.

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Ten Kavod ("Give Honor")

About

The golden years can be anything but golden for many seniors:  A significant other passes.  Family support is out of reach.  Retirement savings evaporate.  Even in the best of situations, the elderly face significant daily challenges that can negatively affect their mental and physical well-being.  

For those who lack proper caregiving, United Hatzalah’s Ten Kavod (meaning “Give Honor”) program provides Holocaust survivors and the elderly with cost-free checkups, on-call medical support, safety-related home improvements, and loving companionship.  For Holocaust victims in particular, United Hatzalah aims to restore the respect in old age that was taken from them in their youth.

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What is the mission and purpose of this program?

Ten Kavod provides Holocaust survivors and other elderly people in Israel with weekly medical checkups and emotional caregiving by pairing them with trained volunteer medics.

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Program Description

Initiated in 2012, United Hatzalah’s Ten Kavod program utilizes highly trained volunteer medics to address the needs of Israel’s at-risk elderly population by providing weekly and on-call medical and mental health services at no cost to the recipient.  

Through the Ten Kavod program, our volunteers undergo months of basic geriatric training in order to make regular home visits for medical checkups.  These weekly visits are designed to assess, report, and intervene early on any deterioration in the participant’s medical condition.  Each volunteer is issued a Ten Kavod medical kit that includes all the diagnostic equipment and supplies needed to assess a patient.  Perhaps more importantly, these visits provide elderly and infirm individuals, many of whom have few or no personal connections, with the emotional support they need to lead a happy and healthy life.  Our services are available throughout the country, with extra support in areas where the need is greatest.

To run the program, United Hatzalah partners with several organizations to promote participant recruitment, including:

•   The Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel
•   The Joint Distribution Committee—Eshel, Misgav, and Lakashish.  
•   Ministry of Health (for certification and coordination),
•   Ministry for Senior Citizens (to identify and assign needy participants), and
•   The Ministry of Education (for in-school education and volunteer programs).  
•   Harel Insurance and Finance
•   IDC Hertzliya

Ten Kavod was initially funded by a generous $200,000 private donation to cover initial operating costs.  In order to serve these individuals, and to expand our programs to include a growing elderly population, United Hatzalah needs additional support to maintain these critical services.

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Demonstrated Need

While heart disease, cancer, and injury can claim the life of any person, lack of financial resources and close personal ties can make preventable injury—such as falls and multi-drug interactions—life threatening for the aged.  Today, Israel’s elderly poverty rate is the highest in the developed world; 21% of the elderly population lives below the poverty line, including more than 50,000 Holocaust survivors.

   •   50,000 of the 193,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel are below the poverty line.
   •   45% of Holocaust survivors report “feeling alone.”
   •   1 out of 5 Holocaust survivors have has to choose between food and other necessities due to financial constraints
   •   60% of Holocaust survivors are worried about their financial situations.

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Program Accomplishments

To date, the Ten Kavod program has partnered more than 150 elderly or infirm individuals with a dedicated medic.

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How do you measure the success of your program?

Ten Kavod continues to match elderly people in Israel in need of caregiving and companionship with a trained volunteer.  Success is measured in terms of meeting the needs of our participants by providing high-quality physical and psycho-social support.

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