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Serving NOLA

Posted on 11/09/2010 @ 08:00 AM

On Monday the teen participants in The Big EASY participated in Volunteer NOLA with all of the participants of the JFNA's General Assembly. The teens participated with Beacon of Hope for their service project.  Below is a reflection on their service.

While ripping through what seemed to be a jungle full of weeds, we discovered a sidewalk. Finding a sidewalk may not seem like a big deal to most, but discovering this recognizable, everyday landmark while cleaning up an empty lot we realized that the lot used to have a home that was destroyed by hurricane Katrina.

This find reminded me and the group of teens I was with that this lot used to be someone's home. That's when we realized that the hundreds of lots around us were all once people's homes and that the largest vacant lot in the area used to be a school where all the neighborhood kids attended. We were cleaning the lots so that the neighborhood in the lower ninth ward of New Orleans would be safer for these kids and their parents.

All 77 teens were there helping and not only were we able to clear the sidewalk but we were able to clear multiple lots all across the neighborhood. The effect that we made was great but once the hundreds of volunteers from the rest of the general assembly joined we realized just how big of a difference a motivated group of Jews could make.

In the last minutes of our project an elderly man and I were working together to clear a bush that was covered in poison oak when I noticed his British accent. I asked him about it and he told me that he had escaped from Germany to England through the kindertransport. Working to help the future with this man who still had hope despite his hard past made me even more motivated to continue my involvement in the Jewish community and community service projects across the globe.

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