Every weekday Mindspace staff look after thousands of members at our beautifully-designed office spaces around the world. Recently, as part of our Mindspace Impact initiative, which includes employee volunteering, our Israeli team approached the Elem Foundation in Tel Aviv, to offer a design makeover for one of their facilities for youth at risk.
This facility provides a safe haven and an education and rehabilitation programs for youth at risk, aged 13-21. These “youth on the edge” often struggle to find a stable home through official channels. Often, they have either run away from a dangerous home environment or have been taken into care by the authorities. These are kids that have had a rough time growing up – all of them are victims of sexual abuse, and some of them are still at risk of being harmed by their family members – even while at the refuge.
Sahar, who works at the foundation, tells us that this facility is the first of its kind in Israel to open its doors to high risk youth who are actively involved in using their body in exchange for money, gifts and shelter. Most boarding schools or youth shelters do not accept people who use their bodies in a transactional way. Elem does.
Sahar thinks the reason why most other places don’t offer support for this population is because other young people could be influenced into behaving in a similar way, especially young people whose values may not be stable yet.
This facility is an important refuge for these young people as a place to lay their head, rest, shower and sleep. This home-away-from-home provides community members with free counseling sessions, complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, and therapeutic workshops and courses such as gardening.
The Elem facility, which has been run down by years of use, received a complete makeover during the volunteering day, transforming the space into a much more pleasant environment for its users. The Mindspace Impact makeover included repairing damage to the walls and ceilings, painting the walls, and electrical and plumbing fixes and the donation of quality high-end designer furniture collected from Mindspace’s various locations.
The makeover was led by Mindspace’s design team, with the intention of creating a safe and nurturing space where Elem community members could gather. They created a design plan to match its young inhabitants’ tastes and sensitivities. The work was focused on the ground floor which features a lounge and seating areas. It went perfectly, transforming the place from an outdated building to a colorful, warm home for its young residents.
Hadas Gole, manager of Elem’s headquarters, said: “Thank you to the Mindspace employees who volunteered for the young community members of Elem; painting, cleaning, fixing up what’s needed and freshening up the place with new furniture. Their heartwarming devotion to the task has given our members, who deal with extremely challenging life issues, a warm and safe feeling of home.”
Dana Riklis VP HR at Mindspace commented: “Mindspace is a people-focused company that’s at the heart of the community. We were proud to take part, along with our employees, in the important work that the Elem Foundation does, in order to provide these young people a homely, warm and loving environment. Contributing to the community is a core value for us as a company, as per our Mindspace Impact initiative, and we were glad to be able to contribute meaningfully with our experience of turning any space into a safe and pleasant environment, with high end, quality design.”