Through years of outreach, Selah has earned the trust of the immigrant community. With feedback from both recipients and volunteers, evaluation is an integral part of our work process and an essential tool to help refine our outreach. We measure our success in several ways: by the recipient immigrants’ ability to cope with their new reality; by their own perception that they are better able to cope; and by their feeling that they have a shoulder to lean on.
The most critical questions we ask ourselves are – are we there for the immigrant in crisis in real time, and have we given real help?
We review our records of individual care, allowing us to assess both the impact of Selah outreach on each individual, as well as the geographical distribution of our resources. We also evaluate our work at the conclusion of each peer support group and retreat. Professionals and volunteers meet for debriefings and later review written forms filled out by participants. Through these evaluations, we have seen how significantly the support groups and retreats bolster the participants’ resolve and encourage them to build peer networks within the groups. Selah support groups and retreats enable them to share the pain which they cannot share elsewhere, and most importantly, establish new and increased resources for coping – from within and without.
The True Impact of Our Work Transcends Measurement:
The ability to cope with crisis, tragedy, and bereavement cannot be easily measured. The process of dealing with the pain, re-establishing routines, and finding new meaning in life is a difficult and complicated path. Selah accompanies families through the different stages of crisis, empowering individuals to find the inner strength to take healing steps forward. Through 23 years of experience, Selah has incorporated methods that we continually re-evaluate in our effort to provide the best care possible to the immigrants we serve. Since Selah’s inception, our goal has been to meet a dire need in Israeli society: supporting families both during their acute crises and with sustained support through various types of assistance, with special attention to each individual’s needs. We work to meet this goal every day. However, the assessment of our success – with all the nuances involved – continues to be a challenge because of the individualized nature of the coping and healing processes for each immigrant in our care.
We constantly struggle with wanting and needing to do more than our limited resources will allow. For example, a common request expressed in recipients’ programmatic feedback is to meet more frequently for mutual support healing retreats and “parenting” groups, which they cite as being uniquely strengthening. This would allow them increased opportunities to acquire more coping resources, and broaden and deepen their relationships with others in similar situations.
We want to ensure that all immigrants have access to support when crisis hits, and beyond, so they may ultimately rebuild. And in those sensitive moments when a celebration of a milestone is the right intervention, Selah is there to organize an orphan’s bar mitzvah, a school birthday party to help a child struggling to fit in, or a wedding for someone with no relatives to help.