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Our heartfelt appreciation and thanks to Dr. Bronner´s for their generous donation to Krembo Wings! Click here for our thank you to Dr. Bronners..

Our Professional Approach

Krembo Wings professional approach is based on the following principals:
Viewing all Members as Equal 
Krembo Wings is a youth movement for both members with disabilities and counselors (teenagers from the regular educational system). Both are active partners (and equal members) in the youth movement’s activities, atmosphere and life.
Human Dignity
We treat all members with respect rather than based on stereotypes. Every person is special and unique and must be recognized, understood and related to on the basis of deep familiarity rather than prejudice.
Subjective Disability
We view disability from an individual perspective that
is not based solely on medical facts, but also on thoughts, feelings and emotions. Both disability and ability are a function of the person’s self-perception.
A person who considers him/herself as having a disability – has a disability. On the other hand, a person who thinks others can help him/her perform a certain task and considers him/herself as a person with abilities – whatever these are – does not have a disability. We are guided by this view. 
Emphasis on Strengths and Abilities
We all have our stronger sides – we look for them andreinforce them. It is important to understand the difficulties people have, but in our professional approach we emphasize strengths.
Both the individual and society must be motivated by these strengths, while at the same time coping with the difficulties, many of which may be overcome by enabling access and making adjustments. 
Encouraging Independence
We encourage all movement members to be independent both in thought and in action, each according to his/her abilities and preferences.
The branch activities are based on our counselors who manage the branch and its activities on their own.
 Krembo Wings is a youth movement unique in its mission of bringing together and including teenagers with and without disabilities for joint social activities.
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 Our Movement Members are:
 1. Counselors – teenagers from the mainstream education system. 
 2. Members with disabilities (in this document referred to as “members”) – children and  teenagers with a variety of disabilities (including physical, cognitive, spatial, sensory and communication disabilities).
During the activity, the counselors facilitate the activity for the members according to their physical, cognitive  or communication skills. 
Group Structure
Unlike many educational settings for people with disabilities that are homogenous, at Krembo Wings the group is heterogeneous and composed of members with diverse disabilities, based on our belief in the importance of human contact regardless of the specific nature of the disability. We believe that adjustment and facilitation can enable our branches to hold social activities in which everyone participates and gets to know and accept each other as they are.
  Mentoring Model 
 Branch activities take place in groups. To enable group activities for such a diverse  population, we have developed a model of individual mentoring in a group setting. This  model is designed to bridge gaps that may arise between the various members due to their  abilities to understand and/or physically take part in the activity.
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 Each activity is led by our branch leaders, who coordinate the activity, and two counselors
 accompany each member with a disability. During the activity, the counselors are required to assist the member and moderate the activity for him/her, according to his/her own personal needs, and to enable the member to take full part in the activity. Krembo Wings branch setting with members and counselors who support and assist one another allows us to offer a variety of different activities with a diverse group of members.
For example, if a member with a speech impediment is interested in participating in a discussion, his/her counselors will help him/her gain the group’s attention and have the time required to express him/herself. If another member has cognitive difficulty, for example, his/her counselors will simplify the discussion to enable him/her to understand and take part.
  The Counselor as “Mediator”: Unique Mentoring Model
 The approach is based on the member with disabilities’ need for help and guidance in  order to experience and participate in social events – a right every person is entitled to. 
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 The objective of mediation is to enable, and not do anything instead of the member. The    mediator acts together and next to the person who needs assistance. The greatness lies in  providing just the right amount of support required to enable the member to participate.  The counselor at Krembo Wings is the member’s partner in the activity which they both                                        experience together.
The mediation role changes from one member to another, and sometimes it changes according to the activity. In some cases, during a given activity the counselor will mediate for the member on different levels of support according to emerging needs. 
A good mediator also has to realize when his/her mediation is no longer necessary – he/she has to know when to take a step back. The moments when the member with a disability achieves the task without help and support are very significant for him/her. Often, these moments pass unnoticed on a busy day, with parents and professionals wanting to help and support the child, and make him feel comfortable or successful. 
The counselor-as-mediator approach is aligned with the professional approach principles and includes the following aspects. 
Human dignity
We understand that every member comes from a different family and environmental background. Every member has unique abilities and disabilities, different preferences and wishes, and each is exposed to a different world of opportunities and experiences. All these shape his/her personality and affect his/her knowledge and abilities.
Therefore, when we approach a different person, we may find him/her to be very unique, despite belonging to the same general (stereotypical) group. 
Therefore, we treat each member in a natural and dignifying way. After getting to know him/her better, we are able to know how well he/she understands, and adjust ourselves to his/her level. It is better to aim higher and then slowly bring the level down, than to aim low or give up in advance – and thereby lose the opportunity to advance our member. 
For example, we will talk to him/her and not about him/her – and will avoid communicating with a person with CP as if he/she is intellectually challenged just because he/she is unable to speak or move his/her limbs. 
Understanding and attention
Understanding and attention are a significant part of the counseling process. It is important to understand the member’s disabilities and abilities, and the reasons for his/her various behaviors, as well as be prepared for potential challenging situations. In each activity, it is important to be attentive to his/her immediate needs and desires. The combination of general understanding, attention and openness throughout the activity ensures better counseling. 
Positive Perspective
Approaching every situation with the aim of enabling the member to experience success, while identifying and emphasizing abilities rather than disabilities. 
Accessibility and Adjustment
Krembo Wings activities are adjusted to a heterogeneous group of members. The counselor’s job is to adjust and mediate the activity to be suitable for his/her individual member. This adjustment may involve ways of communicating with the member, adjustments for creative activities, support during group activities and motor assistance. In order to make the activity accessible for their members, the counselors demonstrate it to the members in a way that enables them to participate as independently as possible. 
Encouraging independence
Encouraging independence is important in our view to enhance the individual’s self-image and self-appreciation. We encourage giving opportunities for independent experience, and so we will always search for the most appropriate way to enable each member to be an active and independent member – as much as possible. 
To do so, we follow the just-enough mediation principle. Due to our desire to promote the member and give him/her a sense of success, we often tend to over-support him/her. Therefore, we at Krembo Wings encourage our counselors to mediate just enough to facilitate independence. For example, it would be better for a creative activity to result in a less-than-perfect product but be the product of joint activity by both the counselor and member, than to produce a perfect work of art that the member had little part in producing. 
 The Essentials of Optimal Counseling 
As part of implementing our professional approach, we stress three essential elements that enable us to gain a holistic perspective of each member:
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Acquaintance Meetings
We believe it is tremendously important to hold acquaintance meetings at the member’s home and get to know him/her and his/her family. These visits enable us to know the member’s natural environment and obtain information and insights about him/her and his/her various needs from his/her parents. In addition, these meetings are the start of a long-term relationship between Krembo Wings and the family. 
Training Sessions
We feel it is important to be attentive to questions and doubts experienced by the counselors when they meet the members, in order to change their perceptions and attitudes. We therefore legitimize, accept and embrace the counselors’ feelings, even if they are initially hesitant or uneasy about meeting the member with a disability. We reinforce them and stress that these feelings are perfectly legitimate. It is important for the counselors never to be afraid to ask difficult questions, because these ultimately lead to understanding and acceptance of the other.
Therefore, all counselors, branch leaders and staff members in the movement take part in training sessions that prepare them for working with the members.  
At the same time, we also reinforce the intuitive solutions suggested by counselors in their activities with the members. It is our experience that a new relationship between teenagers that retains a degree of naivety, and is based on a positive perspective, opens up new opportunities for the members.
All rights to the professional approach are reserved to Krembo Wings and Claudia Koby. © 
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