This Sunday, the Jewish Teen Funders Network (JTFN) launched a new online teen philanthropy initiative and program in partnership with BBYO to support J-Serve, the International Day of Youth Service. Throughout the day, hundreds of teens from around the world participated in new ways of doing service within the confines of social distancing and, importantly, embraced a fundamental component of service to the community: philanthropy.
Sunday was a day of both learning and service (service opportunities including making phone calls and writing letters to homebound seniors) and many teens participated in three JTFN workshops on applying Jewish values in their giving, understanding their giving priorities and the importance of due diligence and research in making informed decisions. As a culminating event for the day, J-Serve Prime Time: A Worldwide Celebration of Service and Philanthropy, hosted by BBYO On-Demand, teens from around the world celebrated and recognized the incredible first responders in the field. . The event closed with a global giving circle vote where teens decided how to divvy up the thousands of dollars they raised that day among Doctors Without Borders, the JDC, Mazon and Jewish Federations of North America.
“It is important for Jewish teens to be involved in philanthropy because it gives us a better understanding of issues that really matter,” Abby Wallach, a BBYO member, told JTFN staff afterwards. “Being involved in philanthropy gives us, as Jewish teens, the abilities to connect to our roots and assist our communities.”
Now, more than ever, being online is a necessity, and teens have the power to change the world from their home bedroom by giving to causes they care about. They are responding to the global crisis of COVID-19, and it is our responsibility to provide the tools on how to participate in addressing this from the source of what makes us Jewish, what makes us proud to be Jewish, and how we stand up as a community together.
If you are interested in creating an online Jewish teen giving experience in your community of organization, contact Wayne Green, Executive Director, Jewish Teen Funders Network at [email protected]