Who We Serve

When terror strikes, each member of the family feels the effects, and each one has different needs for recovery. OneFamily provides a range of therapeutic services tailor made for each member of the family.

Bereaved parents benefit most when they spend time with other bereaved parents. The same is true for widows and widowers, bereaved children, orphans, and people who have been injured and their families.

Throughout the year, OneFamily organizes three-day therapeutic retreats and one- or two-day outings when different groups need them most. We hold a healing retreat for bereaved parents on the weekend before Israel’s Memorial Day to prepare for the emotions that might arise on the day. A retreat for orphans of both parents takes place on the weekend before Passover, when families traditionally gather.

Each division is created so that nobody has to suffer alone, and everyone has someone like them to lean on. This ensures that the entire family is taken care of and that no member of the family is left on their own.

For bereaved parents, the pain of losing a child to terror is indescribable. Part of the parent dies with the child, making the loss even greater for other members of the family. The parents feel lost, with normalcy ripped from their lives and a constant aching in their hearts.

Some try to cope by creating special projects in the memory of the child who was killed. Others hold up a front of strength for the sake of their other children. Still others find no comfort at all. For all of them, OneFamily is there to help.

OneFamily’s trained professionals work with the bereaved parents to help them cope with their loss. The professionals identify the unique needs of each family and provide ongoing support and encouragement so the parents never feel alone.

Staff social workers and therapists provide psychological help, healing workshops, and a wide range of therapies. The organization also provides financial support to ensure that the families do not fall into financial hardship as well.

Three times each year, OneFamily organizes three-day retreats for bereaved parents, scheduled at some of the most challenging times of the year – just before Memorial Day, during the beginning of summer, after the Jewish holidays.

The retreats let parents cry together, bond, and share their stories with others who have experienced the same grief and loss. The time spent with others who understand the challenges they face is therapeutic in itself. But the retreats also provide assorted treatments and group support. Parents often build strong connections during the retreats, forming a support network that lasts long after the retreat ends.

The OneFamily Center serves as a “safe space” where parents can come for support, a sympathetic ear, and a friendly face. It is also a place where parents can let go and feel like their real selves, and even to have fun, laugh, and release the pent up tension together with others who understand the experience.

When a spouse is killed in a terrorist attack, hopes and dreams are shattered in an instant. The loneliness can be enormous and the prospect of moving forward can seem overwhelming.

For widows or widowers with children, the difficulties are compounded.  The surviving spouse must remain a rock of stability for the children throughout his or her own mourning process and face the challenges of raising children as a single parent.

Often the widow focusses all her energy on the children and is unable to dealing with her own sense of loss. Some find it challenging to find the strength to maintain a daily routine for the family: managing the household, care for children, go to work, when they feel completely broken.

OneFamily supports the widows and widowers from the initial time of the attack and are in close connection accompanying them through the years at every stage of their journey. Our social workers and psychologists offer professional support, particularly in the lead up to difficult days such as memorials, birthdays or anniversaries.

OneFamily also provides a strong support network to help them come to terms with what happened and to speak freely about the difficulties, especially with others who have suffered in a similar way. We provide space  they are experiencing, the impact their new role has on their self-image, and the huge responsibility that has fallen upon them.

There is a support group for widows that meets regularly and an annual therapeutic retreat that runs for three days. The group serves as a free space where the widows can be themselves among others who understand the types of challenges they encounter.

The retreats enhance the support network, allowing them to step away from their daily lives and their regular obligations to focus on their own healing. The retreats combine a range of group therapies and therapeutic activities with fun activities that help them bond with others.

Children are also welcome at the retreats to help strengthen the bonds between parent and children while doing fun activities together. It is also therapeutic for the children to see their parent being able to do fun things with them and not just mourn the loss of their other parent.

Losing a close family member is an excruciating experience, especially for a child. Losing a sibling in a terrorist attack can feel like they children are losing a part of themselves as well. A stable family unit is often the foundation of their identity and security, and losing that leaves an enormous hole in their lives. The emotional wounds can last a lifetime.

The children often feel “different” or “alone” because their friends no longer know how to relate to them. And they no longer have the older brother to emulate, the younger sister to boss around, or the sensitive parent to console them after a rough day of school.

OneFamily meets the needs of these bereaved youth, ages 8-24 though our Youth Division. We offer a multitude of psychological, educational and social services geared toward the well-being of children who have suffered such a traumatic loss.

Through youth camps on Chanukah, during the summer, as well as holiday retreats, leisure activities, and social events, the children have the opportunity to identify with others who have suffered a similar loss. Knowing they are not alone to cope with their pain and that others around them understand the trauma they experienced allows them to start rebuilding their personal identity and feel part of a whole – something that was taken from them in their bereavement.

The children can form strong bonds with other bereaved children. These friendships are particularly powerful and could last a lifetime.

 

Young Adults

Young Adults aged 24-39 who have been harmed by terrorism have unique needs.

This is the age when people are stepping into the world and beginning their independent lives. Terror victims – who are coping with the tremendous anguish of bereavement while filling new roles in life – are also engaged in a process of rehabilitation.

The emotional strains compound the economic realities that they face as they embark on career and life choices, academic or professional study, moving out on their own, and building significant lifetime relationships.

It is frequently the case that following such tragedy, young adults have difficulties making significant decisions, or are unable to devote the proper attention and concentration to any academic, professional, social or family framework.  When young adults find themselves unable to function fully in their surroundings, they face the risk of falling into a complete functional breakdown.

OneFamily’s Young Adults Division helps terror victims in this age range build strong  personal and group connections with others like them, and to create a safe and protected space for them to regain their ability to function.

The Young Adults Division operates on a number of therapeutic levels, including personal counseling, emotional therapy, support groups, guidance in education, direction in choosing a profession and achieving their professional goals, and social programs.

Group members feel they can all talk freely about their experiences and thoughts with each other. The members of the group gain therapeutic benefits by simply being together and understanding each other, having shared similar loss in a way that other people cannot truly understand.

The friendships that develop enable victims to give strength to each other and to be strengthened themselves, creating supportive and meaningful interactions and friendships like no others.

 

 

 

The Orphans Division for terror victims who have lost both parents in terrorist attacks served the needs of victims who no longer have the guiding hand of a parental figure.

When the parents are killed, the children lose the central anchor of their lives. Often, the oldest brother or sister take on the role of responsible parent for their remaining siblings. This situation could create tension in the family as the younger ones resent being told what to do by their sibling.

On the other hand, if one of the older brothers or sisters refuses to take on the role of substitute parent, it can create anger among the other siblings, who feel rejected by their siblings’ reluctance to step up for the sake of the family.

OneFamily steps into the breach by filling the role normally that parents play in normal families. The organization provides hands-on support through all stages of the orphans’ lives. Support may include helping with studies and job search, advising on personal issues such as dating and marriage, and assisting families after the birth of a child. The division fills the gap that opens with the death of the parents – the lack of home, warmth, and parental guidance.

OneFamily organizes opportunities for family gatherings. Just as regular families spend time with their parents on holidays and vacations, OneFamily works to arrange gatherings at special times such as candle-lighting on Hanukah, retreats before Passover, and outings around other holidays.

OneFamily plans trips during the summer and get-togethers on the birthdays of members of the division.  The time spent together provides orphans the social opportunities given to all children and grandchildren and ensures that they do not miss out. The outings and social times reassure them that they are neither alone with their pain nor different from any other members of society.

The organization also works to develop relationships within the division so that it serves as an effective support group for its members. Because of their common experience, members of the group understand each other as no one else can. They know how deeply the others are suffering and what it takes to overcome the pain. They also have the deep ability to laugh together and enjoy sharing experiences. The importance of that bond cannot be understated.

When speaking of injured victims, we do not use this term lightly.  OneFamily’s injured victims consist of the civilian in every day clothing, to the soldier in or out of battle.

The physical damage victims suffer is sometimes obvious, but the emotional trauma is often hidden deep under the surface. Often, it’s not what you see that requires special attention but what you can’t see.

Physical therapy, massage therapy and chiropractic assistance are only a few of the many services OneFamily provides to the injured.  This is a way to further the rehabilitation of the individual when medical attention is no longer necessary.

While physical pain is at the forefront of the recovery process, the emotional scars are often left behind, only to cause future damage to the individual’s mental health.   This pain can last for months, years or a lifetime.  This is why OneFamily takes special consideration into the emotional healing of each individual.  Whether it’s PTSD, depression or general anxiety, OneFamily provides a variety of psychological and emotional therapeutic services, addressing the needs of each individual.

Support groups provide the injured with an opportunity to meet, bond and form lifelong friendships with those who have been through the same or similar trauma. The nurturing environment at OneFamily encourages them to “let it out.”

Emotional support for the injured is not limited to support groups.  Social gatherings, events and intensive therapeutic retreats help the injured join together and turn pain into comfort.

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