To battle the sharp worldwide increase in the incidence and severity of eating disorders in teenagers, the Australian Friends of Shaare Zedek (AFSZ) have been working to empower untrained individuals to administer “eating disorder first aid” that can provide early intervention and support for children and teenagers at risk.
Fortunate to be supported by Australian Jewish Funders (AJF), AFSZ has been connected with a network of donors and specialists.
Through AJF program, Catchafire – an online platform that connects non-profit organisations with professional volunteers worldwide – AFSZ has been provided with services valued at more than $100,000 with projects that include strategic planning, website creation, copywriting and graphic design.
With help from Catchafire volunteers, AFSZ ran their ‘Hackathon’ event last week.
The free event on Zoom, titled ‘Hacking Eating Disorders’, saw 50 international leading healthcare and tech professionals come together for a six-hour marathon of brainstorming digital solutions to create a first aid kit for eating disorders, including Shaare Zedek’s Dr Shelly Ben Harush Negari.
Negari spoke of the different types of eating disorders while clinical psychologist Dr Toni Pikoos offered an Australian perspective.
Michael Carp detailed the challenges that parents face caring for a teenager struggling with an eating disorder.
Dan Sztrajt, assistant principal at Bialik College, expressed the challenges educational institutions face with students showing symptoms. Catchafire facilitator Stefano La Porta ran a group activity.
AFSZ is one of more than 100 communal organisations to be awarded a Catchafire membership which has enabled the non-profit to emerge from the pandemic as strategically focused and reinvigorated.
In just five months, the Catchafire platform has been home to the completion of 351 projects, seen 1844 applications to volunteer submitted, and had 6854 hours of volunteer time donated to the value of almost $2 million.
Catchafire thanked some of its volunteers who live worldwide and new friends of AFSZ including Yagev Ben Itzhak, a change management specialist; Midge Colombo, specialising in values and success metrics; John Hankins for financial planning advice; Lizette Warner, who provided effective leadership coaching; Marta Santacana from graphic design; and Gal Spira, focused on social media marketing and CRM analysis.