At age 21, autistic children graduate from special needs schools and move into independent living facilities, or homes, that offer round-the-clock supervision, employment opportunities, and meet the residents' other needs.
The government funds the homes' operating budget, but parents shoulder the burden of finding land and money (some NIS 10 million) to build them.
One group of parents of autistic teenagers is already planning ahead, and has founded the Home for Life Association, which recently began raising funds to build a new facility.
Over 500 volunteers from Kiryat Shmona to Eilat are helping, setting up donation spots at 45 shopping centers all over the country. The association is seeking 10-shekel contributions, and donors receive cards illustrated with a house drawn by one of the children.
The fundraising campaign is being operated in conjunction with Israel Malls, Gazit Globe, the Big Group, and Amot Investments, and thanks to the large number of volunteers will be extended for another month.
"Three months ago, when we started to plan to fundraising campaign for a 'home for life' for our son Alon and his friends, we were too modest," explains association member David Asher.
"We didn't foresee that we would raise money in over 40 malls… or that we would print such special cards, and definitely not that 500 volunteers would put in so many hours for a project that's so important to us."
To volunteer, send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org