Our mission is to reach out to parents of children
with mental illnesS and let them know…
You are not alone.
Project Ometz, co-founded by Rabbi Ari Zahtz in conjunction with Congregation Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck, NJ, aims to create a community-wide initiative to help parents cope when they have a child with mental illness. Ometz is the Hebrew word for courage. We chose this name because we understand the courage it takes to reach out for help in this situation.
Raising a child with a mental health condition is a challenging and painful journey. For too long the stigma of mental health has prevented families from reaching out for help. Our goal is to break down this barrier. Ometz will help reduce the isolation felt by parents of children with mental illness by providing support and encouragement.
The cornerstone of Ometz is its Parent Mentor Volunteers (PMVs) who share vital knowledge based on personal experience raising a child with a mental illness. Successfully managing the needs of their own children, PMVs serve as role models as well as beacons of hope.By offering connections to parents who are further along the journey, we help Ometz clients gain a sense of empowerment and an increased ability to take action. We also reduce the sense of isolation and loneliness parents often experience in these situations by creating an opportunity to talk openly and honestly about their child with an empathetic peer.Ometz clients will be connected with a PMV whose experience best matches their needs. All of our PMVs must complete a training workshop conducted by Project Ometz Advisor, Martin Galla, LCSW. Mr. Galla is a licensed clinical social worker and the assistant director of the Yeshiva University Counseling Center. Project Ometz Co-Founder, Alissa Horn, who is currently pursuing her MSW, will assist Mr. Galla with training and intake as well as PMV assignment.
resources & strategies
Our PMVs offer the practical and moral support necessary to turn insight into action. They share resources and ideas on how to best advocate for your child. The strategies they have developed for coping with everyday challenges as well as those that are unique to Orthodox families can make a real difference. PMVs also help alleviate the guilt often paired with a mental health diagnosis by reminding parents that, like all other illnesses, a mental health condition is not the result of any action or inaction on their part.