California Teenagers Win Tikkun Olam Awards

The Helen Diller Family Foundation and The Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties today announced the 2011 recipients of the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards. Nearly 125 teens from across the state of California were nominated and considered for the award – five recipients were chosen to each receive $36,000. Each Diller honoree has initiated an innovative social action project exemplifying tikkun olam. These volunteer projects have truly made a difference in today’s economically world.

The teens will be recognized at a celebratory luncheon in San Francisco later this summer. This is the fifth year the awards have been given, and a special commemoration of past recipients and the impact their efforts have made in the world will also be celebrated.

The awardees’ projects include a fundraising and advocacy movement to provide lifesaving relief for refugees from genocide; a clean water initiative that creates global awareness and brings essential resources to impoverished families; a student-run community garden that has engaged students and the greater public; a textbook donation program benefitting students in Liberia; and a charitable school supply program for less-fortunate Los Angeles youth. Each project required leadership and careful organization in addition to fundraising. Use of the award money is largely unrestricted, and recipients can use it to fund college or to further implement their vision for making the world a better place.

The teens were selected by a panel composed of educators and community leaders, completed a detailed application describing their projects, goals, inspiration and challenges, fundraising tactics and ultimate accomplishments. Eligible applicants were California residents, between 13 and 19 years old, who self-identify as Jewish. The community service projects focused on any area of interest to the teen.

More on the awardees can be found here.