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One Teen's Thoughts on BBYO Stand UP and Rebuild

Posted on 06/27/2013 @ 12:00 PM

Tags: pep

When you're a kid, they tell you that if you're a good person, you'll be rewarded and, if you're a bad person, you'll face consequences for your actions.

This could not be more false.

Before coming to BBYO Stand UP and Rebuild: A Teen Issue Summit on the Power of Service, I was excited about doing a little bit of community service and getting some hours for it. It wasn't until Patricia Dresch-- a Hurricane Sandy survivor-- came to share her story that I truly realized how important our service was to these people. Patricia lost both her husband and daughter while fighting the violent waters that flooded her home. She seemed like such a kind person, so I couldn't understand why such horrible things happened to her.

It wasn't fair.

Her bravery was so inspiring and made me 110% more excited to serve the affected community. In that moment, all I wanted to do was take away the pain that this disaster caused her, and I knew that I wasn't the only one in the room that felt this way. Although life didn't serve her justice, we were all ready to try and make things better. I finally felt the power that our service had in this community.

- Roni Rose, Charlotte, NC

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Ben, Abigail, Bruce, Roni

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BBYO Stand UP and Rebuild Day of Service

Posted on 06/26/2013 @ 05:00 PM

Tags: pep

Day two of BBYO Stand UP and Rebuild was spent doing several service projects. The group split into two. One group traveled to a residential community to help out with community beautification. They cleaned up a whole block of a community and worked hard to make it look like a place to be proud to live again. The other group was at another site not far away, shoveling and packaging the mulch that was then brought over to the first group’s site to use in the beautification project.

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At the second site, the group also sorted summer clothing and frozen food to provide to families in the area. Once those projects were complete, the teens started the process of making a sustainable greenhouse out of water bottles and planting in a community garden.

The greenhouse and garden are the first in a project of 25 that Feeding Family, a service group in the area, are building in Staten Island. The inspiration for the project came when, after Hurricane Sandy, it took a full month to get fresh produce onto the island. These greenhouses and community gardens are meant to be sustainable and environmentally friendly in order to avoid this in the future.

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Sandy's Devastation Firsthand

Posted on 06/25/2013 @ 10:00 PM

Tags: pep

After dinner, representatives from Met Council, one of New York's largest human services agencies, joined the teens. The most moving moments of this part of the Summit came from Patricia Dresch, a Hurricane Sandy survivor.

After being robbed during their evacuation for Hurricane Irene, the Dresch family decided not to evacuate for Hurricane Sandy. As a result, Patricia Dresch lost husband George and 13 year old daughter Angela. This year, Angela would have graduated middle school. Tonight was her middle school’s prom, just across the street from the BBYO Stand UP and Rebuild Summit.

Patricia relayed the devastating details of her family’s experience with Hurricane Sandy. In its aftermath, she said, “I had nothing.” She said that when people come here to do little things like pick up garbage and sort clothing, people don’t realize the impact it makes. “Tomorrow, people may come up and hug you for doing what you’re doing and you may not understand why, but every little thing makes a difference to them.”

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In response, teens shared – some tearfully - their new outlooks on the work to be done tomorrow:

“I came in here wanting to help and I expected to just do small things, but what you’ve told us about small things makes this so much deeper and I’m excited to be a part of it.” Matthew Ludwig, Randolph, NJ

“I’ve never really seen any major natural disaster happen. You don’t just lose your physical self, you lose your emotional self. This has really opened my eyes.” – Dylan Nowogrodski, Thornhill, ON

“Hearing what [Patricia] said – how such a small thing can make an impact on someone – makes me so excited to meet people tomorrow and help change their lives.” – Abby Seidel, Atlanta, GA

“I came here knowing what I would be doing. After hearing how much of an effect little things have, I now know why I’m doing what I’m doing.” – Alex Schwartz, Wilmington, DE

“Hearing from you has changed the meaning of Hurricane Sandy. I know tomorrow we are all going to put 200% more effort into our work because of you. Please don’t stop sharing your story.” – Roni Rose, Charlotte, NC

Emily Peter from Cooper City, FL stood up and asked, “Can I give you a hug?”

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Tomorrow, the teens go into the community to do their part with the “little things” and make a big impact.

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BBYO Stand UP and Rebuild Begins!

Posted on 06/25/2013 @ 07:00 PM

Tags: pep

Today kicked off the first day of BBYO Stand UP and Rebuild: A Teen Issue Summit on the Power of Service. Nearly 100 teens from the United States, Canada and Bulgaria traveled to New York to come together and learn about the importance of direct service and advocacy and make an impact on the communities affected by Hurricane Sandy months ago.

Once teens arrived at the hotel, they gathered for some icebreakers and to talk about why they stand up for certain issues. They were given a list of 30 different causes and, throughout various rounds of elimination, identified one main cause they were most passionate about. For Lauren Ide, 18 years old of Orange, CT, “the exercise made me delve deep and really determine what I stand up for.”

Later, the Executive Director of Tivnu: Building Justice, Steve Eisenbach-Budner, joined the group to help them not only think about the causes they support, but what drives them to support those causes. Some motivators included being born into privilege, guilt, the influence of friends/peers, sense of social justice, empathy, Jewish values/teachings/history and family values.

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Steve Eisenbach-Budner, Executive Director of Tivnu: Building Justice

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February 2013 Panim el Panim 2

Posted on 02/18/2013 @ 11:51 AM

Tags: pep

Read more about Panim el Panim through the eyes of a teen participant, Elana Muroff, Los Angeles Hebrew High School, Los Angeles, CA.

Today was an exciting day! Being the first group to arrive, we had to wait for all the other groups to make their way to D.C. Our group explored Washington, D.C. before the other groups arrived – it was great!

Once everyone arrived, we had a session on what to expect from Panim el Panim and our potential impact on the world. Then we had icebreakers, and we had two guest speakers from the National Coalition for the Homeless. The taught us about their encounters with homelessness, and how to treat homeless people we encounter in the future. Tomorrow, when we are going out to do Street Torah, the information they provided will be useful. 

After dinner, we either went to BBYO's International Convention’s concert or took a stroll around the White House and monuments. I can’t wait until tomorrow!

This is the Place to Keep Up With Panim el Panim!

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