In early 2000, social worker and ola chadasha (new immigrant) Caryn Green began seriously discussing the need to open a drop-in center for troubled English-speaking teens. The dialogue, which continued for roughly a year, was held between Green and a group of relevant organizations including:
- The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
- The Ministries of Education and Social Affairs
- The Devorah Foundation
- The Jerusalem Municipality
- ELEM Youth in Distress in Israel
- The Jewish Agency For Israel
In late 2000, the Jewish Agency leased to Green the offices that today comprise the Crossroads Center. Renovations were made to the Center space at the same time as streets outreach began, so that when Crossroads officially opened on January 1st, 2001, a group of needy teens was waiting to come in.
Crossroads opened during the second intifada (the Palestinian uprising of the early 2000s). The number of terrorist attacks in downtown Jerusalem was at its peak. Center staff immediately went to work dealing with survivors of and witnesses to suicide bombings.
As its reputation has grown, the Center has seen the number of teens who drop by daily increase from a maximum of 10 to between 15 and 60. We have succeeded in expanding and improving the services we offer clients, and continue charting the progress made by our teens.
Caryn Green, M.S.W., was born and raised in Tyler, Texas. She received her BA at The University of Texas and her MSW from Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University in New York. Caryn moved to Israel in 1996 and began work with mentally ill young adults at Machon Summit. The following year she joined the professional staff of the children’s ward of Eitanim Psychiatric Hospital in Jerusalem. Along with her duties at the hospital, Caryn began working with youth at risk on the streets of Jerusalem. Caryn founded Crossroads in 2000 and has worked with English-speaking Israeli youth for over fourteen years. Caryn stepped down as director in April 2010, to current director Robbie Sassoon.