Since 1997 the Sauwa Center has served as a childhood development and therapeutic center for at-risk Arab families of low socio-economic status. One of Leo Baeck’s satellite community centers, the Sauwa Center is the only non-profit center in Haifa that provides a variety of free or low-cost therapeutic and educational services to Arab families at-risk.
The Sauwa Center is strategically located in the heart of the Hadar and adjacent to the densely-Arab-populated Wadi Nisnas neighborhood so that the Arab community has immediate and convenient access to our services. The Center is open six days a week and is staffed by a team of nine remarkable individuals, including a Center Manager (a social worker by profession), a psychologist, a social worker, two kindergarten teachers, two enrichment club instructors, a secretary and a housekeeper. The center also has three university student interns who are completing degrees in social work, occupational therapy and psychology.
Approximately 350 Arab children-at-risk from birth to age seven and 150 parents participate in Sauwa Center programs on a weekly basis. All of the Center’s services and programs are offered in Arabic. Four categories of services are provided:
Following referral to the Center by Social Services, the Sauwa Center’s multidisciplinary team creates intervention and treatment programs that meet individual and family needs. This may include counseling sessions with a psychologist or social worker and/or occupational therapy. We are planning to add a speech therapist to our staff in 2015.
Children’s Enrichment Programming
Our children’s programming includes:
- Sensory & Motor Developmental Classes with a physical education teacher in a specially equipped room at the center
- A Sunday Enrichment Club that provides children with enrichment, recreational activities, and a hot lunch on Sundays (a regular workday in Israel, but a day when Arab schools are closed)
- First Grade Preparation Classes that boost participants’ self-confidence, motivation and learning skills
- An animal therapy club where children learn about animals and also expand their ability to show empathy and care
- A dance and music club to further develop motor and cognitive skills, and
- Summer programs which are offered throughout the months of July and August
Every year, many Sauwa Center children participate in Leo Baeck’s Arab-Jewish Summer Camp as well.
Family and Parenting Programs at the Center include:
- Parent-child enrichment groups
- A Therapeutic Fathering Course
- A Parenting Group for Mothers
- Postpartum Counseling
- Healthy Cooking Workshops
- A new “Mother to Mother” support and mentorship group for young Arab mothers at-risk, in collaboration with the Oranim Academic College of Education
- Field trips to community activities for parents and children.
Community Shared-Existence Activities
The Sauwa Center also collaborates in a wide range of Leo Baeck family-oriented shared-existence programs, including: