The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has granted special consultative status to ELEM: Youth in Distress in Israel.

The first Israeli organization dealing with at-risk youth to receive this status, ELEM will be able to advise the council about advances in the field, 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 honor was granted by the ECOSOC following a recommendation by a panel consisting of 19 representatives of UN member nations.

Founded 36 years ago, ELEM seeks out and identifies vulnerable youth in a variety of situations, guides them through therapy, mentoring and assistance that allow these youths to become contributing members of society. Nava Barak is ELEM’s president and Shlomo Yanai is its chairman.

ELEM runs 82 projects in 42 cities across Israel, serving and assisting 21,000 youths annually. ELEM employs 285 therapy and counseling professionals, who work alongside 2,000 volunteers who 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 focused field activities during the summer break.

ELEM Executive Director Inbal Dor Kerbel said the consultative status represents “a golden opportunity to raise awareness of the issue, learn from other organizations worldwide, and have a global impact.”

ELEM’s 2019 Ray of Hope fundraiser will be held October 19 in New York City.