The U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has granted ELEM/Youth in Distress in Israel special consultative status on the matter of vulnerable young people, making it the first Israeli organization dealing with at-risk youth that has received this status.

This designation will allow ELEM to share the organization’s years-long experience and to assist the U.N. council’s work, advise about developments and phenomenon in the field of youth in distress, develop professional relationships with similar organizations around the world, and raise global awareness about the importance of supporting teens and young people at risk.

The recognition by the ECOSOC followed a recommendation by a panel consisting of 19 representatives of U.N. member nations. ELEM met strict criteria including innovation, independence, organizational structure, and promotion of social and legislative change.

Founded 36 years ago, ELEM seeks out and identifies at-risk youth in a variety of situations, guides them through therapy, mentoring and assistance that allow these youths to reclaim their lives and become productive members of society.

“ELEM is proud to humbly represent Israel in the United Nations and be the first Israeli organization to consult the U.N. about youth in distress,” said the group’s executive director, Inbal Dor Kerbel. “This is a golden opportunity to raise awareness of the issue, learn from other organizations worldwide and have a global impact.”

ELEM operates 82 different projects in 42 cities all across Israel. These projects serve and assist 21,000 youths annually. It employs 285 therapy and counseling professionals, who work alongside 2,000 volunteers to create long-lasting and meaningful relationships with teens and young adults.

Together, they assist tens of thousands of youths every year and meet these young people on their own turf: on a nightly basis on the streets and in the clubs, online, at schools, in their communities during the afternoons and in field activities during the summer break.

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