ONE FOR ALL: A Note From Our Mighigan Teens!
Posted on 11/17/2011 @ 04:39 PM
Today, November 14th 2011, is the second day of BBYO’s Panim el Panim program hosted in Boston. Panim focuses on the training and inspiring teens who are committed to service, advocacy and philanthropy in hopes of improving the world and the well being of humans. BBYO’s Panim Institute has been named one of the nation’s 50 most innovative Jewish nonprofits in Slingshot ’11-‘12, a resource guide for Jewish innovation. All attendee’s have similar passions, strengths and drives. After being blown away by incredibly motivational speakers last night, we didn’t think that the program could get any better; yet, we were wrong. Our first program of the day was presented by Gateways. Gateways is Boston’s central agency for Jewish special education, and they believe every Jewish child deserves a Jewish education. At first, two women came into the breakfast room and handed us a paper with boxes and laminated cards. Our instructions were to walk around the room, meet new people and gather names listed on the cards. The cards had names of notable figures in society who have a disability. Many inspirational “celebrities” who have inspired us we were interested to find out that they have a disability. For example, did you know that George Washington had learning disabilities? To hear that the man responsible for building the country that each and everyone of us feel safe in is mind boggling and inspirational.
After a shift in rooms, we sat in pairs of 2 at different stations to evaluate disabilities and how they really affect people who might do things with a little help. Some of us were blind folded to walk around the room with someone holding our elbow, guiding us along the way. Others of us were trying to draw a star, within the boundaries given, by only looking in a mirror and not the paper in front of us. We all were able to make our way through the stations by help from friends. Through the course of the hour, all 84 teens got a first hand experience on what people go through who have disabilities. Lunch time got everyone excited. It was soon that we were out in the fresh air. We spilt into two groups of 42 people. One of the groups grabbed their food quickly and headed for the bus. The other group had stayed in the dinning hall to create a skit for each of the places we visited on our way through the Freedom Trail. While walking through the Freedom Trail we saw many churches, government buildings and important grounds where people were able to express their feelings toward the fast growing America. Upon return to the hotel, we discussed how we can affect the lives of the people around us, even if we don’t have someone watching over our shoulder. With the free time we were given, there were kids who choose to spend their time helping the homeless men and woman around the city. Kids choose to donate their money, vs. spend it on items for themselves. During the Freedom Trail there was extra food, as a group we consolidated what we had left over from lunch and we asked those whom looked like they could some food if they would like an orange, or a cookie. We were soon lead into the discussion of what we can do to change the things we see around us, and make the world a happier place. Our group of 80 kids evaluated the problems that have occurred and are occurring right now around the world, and the faces that really showed their cause was a problem.
BBYO’s Panim One For All Summit was very inspiring to us Jewish teen leaders of our community. We are so excited to be able to have had this opportunity and now, go home to teach and impact our communities. If you ever are in Boston and you want to do some sight seeing, we recommend you walk the Freedom Trail to gain knowledge on historical locations throughout the Boston area. Lauren Yellen (15) and Lexie Sittsamer (17) Farmington Hills Michigan