Friends of AKIM USA

Maia Goren Z”L

In Memory of our Beloved Maia

“I hope her sensitivity, joy, patience and doing – all out of true love to people – will linger with the people of the cluster in their paths and grant them with meaning, both in their work and their personal life” (Neta Dror, Therapy Coordinator).

Maia Goren had been working at AKIM Israel’s Ir-Shemesh Community Based Housing Cluster since 2008. She was a sensitive and compassionate individual who connected beautifully with people with intellectual disabilities. Maia was committed to the Person Centered Approach of AKIM Israel and was always able to recognize the residents’ needs, how to grant them and when. Her genuinely unique character enabled her to see far beyond the mere needs. Maia was attentive also to the residents’ wishes and desires and aspired to fulfill them.

“Maia was kind to us, she cared and supported us, she taught us at the learning center and believed in us. She always came to work with a smile. She loved helping us in everything. Taught us reading and writing. Maia was a really good counselor. Always supported us. Our hearts ache. She does not deserve this. She was a good young lady. We will not forget her” (Residents of the Ir-Shemesh Cluster).

Maia’s warmhearted and welcoming nature was similarly enjoyed by her colleagues as she devotedly promoted strong bonds between the residents and the staff. Even more so, Maia took upon herself to mentor new counselors. She supported them as they integrated in the group, never hesitated to aid and helped them find their place as an integral part of the hostel’s society.  Maia was blessed with a special personality and was beloved by both the residents and the staff.

The Cluster Learning Center

The Cluster Learning Center is a perfect example to Maia’s special outlook on people with intellectual disabilities. Maia founded the center and taught residents from Ir-Shemesh cluster and others, reading and writing, arithmetic and English. The center was a great success and truly inspired the participants. Maia met with every resident who wished to take part in the learning center, discovered what their interests are and evaluated their abilities. She created small groups of 3 to 5 students so to allow personal attention to every one of them. Being such a free spirited and creative person Maia combined theatrical methods and exercises in her teaching. The participants greatly benefited the one-hour classes; Maia’s unique way made them enjoyable and easy to follow.  Some of the participants actively learned new academic skills and gained new knowledge; for others, it was the social atmosphere and weekly meetings with their peers that were a wonderful source of comfort. One of the most important impacts of the center is that it strengthened residents’ self-confidence, gave them a sense of pride of their achievements and made them feel equal to the rest of society. It was Maia’s faith in the participants’ abilities, her conviction they are able to achieve their goals and her persistence and devotion that made the project so successful. Maia strongly believed in advancing people with intellectual disabilities through learning; that gaining basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic is the key to integrating into society and will affect every aspect of their lives.

The Project

Now we wish to continue operating the center that advanced the residents in Maia’s name and memory. We ask your help in raising funds that will enable us continue operating the learning center. For this end we mean to recruit a coordinator to head the project. The coordinator will follow Maia’s methods of teaching which proved to be effective and successful. The center will focus on four learning fields: reading, writing, arithmetic and English. Small groups of 3 to 5 participants will be formed in every subject thus we’ll keep the structure Maia so wisely established. Participants will be allocated to the different groups according to their interests, abilities and level of knowledge.

We aim at raising $10,000. This sum will enable us to operate the learning center for the next five years and establish it further so to make it an integral part of the Ir-Shemesh cluster activities.

“The residents had loved and respected her, as she decided to weave AKIM and the cluster into her personal life. They all attended her funeral, testifying to the strong bond formed with her” (Damian Hass, Ir-Shemesh Cluster Manager).

Maia Goren RIP

What's New at AKIM

Yossi Zvi, was elected as the new chairman of Friends of Akim Israel. Zvi has been in senior management positions in the business sector for the past 30 years and has headed a real estate and mall management company in recent years. “When I was asked to accept the position, I did not hesitate. I felt that now was my time to contribute and allow people to live a better life, “said Yossi Zvi at the meeting.
In 2020 Akim opened 7 new apartments in the community: in Kfar Saba, Karmiel, Yavne, and Rehovot.
AKIM Israel serves as guardian for more than 1,500 persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, regardless of their faith, ethnic background, age or sex
Rabbi Dr. Benyamin (Benny) Lau, who was elected on Sunday, June 20th, 2021, to be the new Chairman of Akim Israel, unanimously by the organization’s General Assembly members. Rabbi Benny Lau will serve as Chairman of Akim in place of Admiral (R) Ami Ayalon, who served in the position for 11 years, years in which he led significant processes in the organization, from establishing it as a human-focused organization, working to hear the voices of people with intellectual disabilities and to lead actions of the policy change and assimilation of positive attitudes towards people with intellectual disabilities and their inclusion into Israeli society.