An optimist and an activist
“If 22 Jewish teens can help at-risk youth on the streets of Tel Aviv, anything is possible.” – Ari Goldstein, JTF board member
I try to keep myself busy. I run track & field. I’m a leader of my school’s Jew Crew, Model United Nations team, and Eco-Council. I am also passionate about photography and love the outdoors. I first heard about the Jewish Teen Foundations at a program fair at my synagogue, and was immediately interested because it was a way for me to make a difference in my community. The more I read about it, the more interested I became, and so I decided to apply
JTF is a group of teens that raise money to work towards solving a certain issue in the world. We choose a cause – any problem that needs solving – and spend months writing letters and making phone calls to raise money. Then we review grant proposals and choose five or six great nonprofits to receive grants.
By learning about the issues that face us and the groups working to solve them, I see the world through the lens of an activist and an optimist. If 22 Jewish teens in San Francisco can help at-risk youth on the streets of Tel Aviv, anything is possible.
What I have been most surprised by is how many people are willing to support a worthy cause. It gives me hope that so many people, even in these economic conditions, want to help in any way they can.
Consensus, leadership, and outreach are some important life skills I will definitely take away from the Jewish Teen Foundation and will be able to apply in college and beyond. I know I will look back on this experience with pride, and view it as a reminder that a small group of dedicated people really can change the world!
Realizing I could make a difference
“Often adults will overlook your potential and might not always take you seriously. However, throughout this process, we have met with dozens of adults from various nonprofits who have taken us very seriously – and it feels good!” – Hallie Goldstein, JTF board member
I first heard about the JTF at my synagogue’s teen involvement fair. I remember hearing about the program, and knowing that it was something I could definitely envision myself being a part of.
This experience has taught me that, even as an individual in a world of close to seven billion, I can make a difference. From the time I was little, I have been taught that, but never really believed it until I became a part of JTF. I realized that it is totally possible to make an impact on the world, and as an active member of the Jewish community, I feel it is an obligation to continue this philanthropic work in any and every way possible.
The most interesting thing I discovered by participating is that adults will take you more seriously in the nonprofit world than I had previously expected. Often adults will overlook your potential and might not always take you seriously. However, throughout this process, we have met with dozens of adults from various nonprofits who have taken us very seriously – and it feels good!
I plan to use the knowledge I gained involving nonprofits, budgets, overhead, impact, and reliability throughout my life. I plan to be someone who stays involved and connected in my community and in the greater Jewish community as well, whether it is monetarily or through service. Despite feeling very satisfied about my fundraising, I am still a firm believer in practicing tikkun olam through service as well.