Some say they are “just teenagers,” but nearly 100 of them traveled from around the world last week to dedicate their time and effort to assist in rebuilding the communities affected by Hurricane Sandy. With a combined 1080 hours of service, the teenagers – participants in BBYO’s Stand UP and Rebuild: A Teen Issue Summit on the Power of Service – engaged in service projects including: sorting and packaging mulch to be used for community beautification; sorting food and clothing to distribute to those in need and stringing together water bottles to create the walls for a sustainable and environmentally friendly greenhouse in order to ensure fresh produce on the island and planting garden beds in a sustainable community garden.
The Summit participants are members of BBYO’s high school leadership programs – the Aleph Zadik Aleph (AZA) for young men and the B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG) for young women – from across the United States, Canada and Bulgaria. At the Summit, the teens learned about direct service and advocacy from guest speaker Steve Eisenbach-Budner, Executive Director of Tivnu: Building Justice. They will attended a panel featuring those directly affected by the storm called “Sandy’s Devastation First Hand.”
As a teen-led and staff supported organization, BBYO offers programming that is inspired by the interests of today’s teens. Judah Burstein, a rising senior, from Brookline, MA; Sarah Fellman, a rising senior, from Charlotte, NC; Kyle Price, a rising sophomore, from Scarsdale, NY; and Josie Roth, a rising junior, from Boca Raton, FL are the AZA and BBG members who are serving as the program coordinators and facilitated, with staff support, sessions throughout the Summit.
“Relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy are strong, but there is still so much more to be done. As Jewish teens, it is our responsibility to do everything we can to help,” said Josie Roth.
As part of BBYO Stand UP, BBYO’s grassroots service, advocacy and philanthropy campaign, BBYO Stand UP and Rebuild is designed to help teens acquire the skills and resources necessary to create their own service, advocacy and philanthropy campaigns to affect positive change in their local and global community.
photos courtesy BBYO