Lauren Levine is settling in with a group of friends apartment to watch “American Idol,” when a look of panic comes over her face. She rummages around, finds her keys and darts out.“I left the hair thing on,” she says when she returns, breathless, from her own apartment downstairs. “I was straightening Jasmine’s hair before we came up here, and I forgot to turn it off. Wow. That was close.” Levine has wide blue eyes accentuated with sparkly eye shadow, and her voice is spiced with a sense of interested wonder.
By the time they hit 18, most kids are anxious to get out into the real world. Headed to college, to travel or into a career, they’re ready to test the waters of adulthood. But for kids with special needs, the transition from home to independent living isn’t always easy. And for some Jewish young people in Los Angeles, that’s where the Etta Israel Center comes in.