Wilderness Therapy for At-Risk Youth in Israel

November 2, 2017 12:15 pm - 1:45 pm


Columbia School of Social Work 1225 Amsterdam Avenue Room C05 New York, NY 10027

Hosted by Dr. Amy Werman (MSW’82), Lecturer, CSSW

SPEAKER: Shlomi Avni, Founder & CEO of Nirim Schunot (Nirim in the Neighborhood)


About the Program

Wilderness therapy is an emerging intervention and treatment to help adolescents overcome emotional, adjustment, addiction, and psychological problems. It is one of the chief means Nirim Schunot (Nirim in the Neighborhood) uses to help teenagers who are growing up in some of Israel’s toughest neighborhoods. Youth who get involved in Nirim’s community outreach programs are given the opportunity to participate in physical conditioning programs and then undertake an outdoor survival trip. At this event, Nirim founder Shlomi Avni will explain why this kind of intervention enables the dramatic breakthrough and the assimilation of the tools and values at-risk Israeli youth need to help them turn their lives around.


About the Speaker

Sholmi Avni’s call to social service was shaped by his own life experience. As a native of Or Akiva, a small city in the center of Israel with a large percentage of émigrés from the Former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, he knows firsthand about the challenges some Israeli young people face, as well as their high risk of succumbing to drug and gang involvement, and dropping out of school. After serving in Shayetet 13, Israel’s elite Navy Seals Special Forces unit, he determined to use the military skills and ethics he had learned to transform the lives of troubled teens. He founded Nirim Schunot (Nirim in the Neighborhood) in tribute to his fallen comrade, Nir Krichman, who was killed while trying to stop a terrorist attack. “I am carrying on Nir’s dream of helping troubled teens become productive members of Israeli society,” he says.


How to follow on Livestream:

About ten minutes before the event, go to this link:


All registrants will receive a reminder of this link around 30 minutes before the program starts.


  1. Do not open the link in more than one window or you will hear an echo.
  2. Make sure your speaker volume is turned up.
  3. Type your questions for the speakers into the chat.
  4. Ethernet is more reliable than wifi.

Questions on Livestream? Please contact swcommunications@columbia.edu.


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