Posted on 07/20/2015 @ 11:30 PM
I went to Bread for the City for my service site. What we do at Bread for the City is sort through produce for food quality and place produce in bags for people in need. It is fun working in the food pantry because I am with my friends in my circle group. Some of the products we put in bags were potatoes, cherries and other nonperishable items. Today we worked on sorting cabbage and shucked corn.
My reaction to this service site changed the way I look at food. I am fortunate to have enough food on my plate everyday while some people out there struggle and don’t have enough food for a day. I am happy that I can help the community and others around me. I really have enjoyed my time here at Impact DC and have made friends that I will keep for a life time.
Impact DC is a great program. Tomorrow we are going to Capitol Hill to lobby for congress which will be a lot of fun and educational. We only have a few more days left but, I am making every day count and will come back and bring everything I learned home to my chapter.
-Michelle Massarik, Northern Region East-NOVA COUNCIL
CLTC 6 Goes To Israel
Posted on 07/20/2015 @ 12:54 AM
After a wonderful first Shabbat together, CLTC 6 “flew” to Israel and visited our Israeli counselor, Nofchi’s “house”. On the way there, everyone wrote letters to Israel as if Israel was a person. At Nofchi’s house, we heard a little about her life and “her Israel” and a few volunteers shared the letters that they wrote. These are two of those letters.
“Dear Israel, I recently visited you and had the best time of my life. Being there really changed my life. Going to places like Yad Vashem and Mount Hertzl really had a huge impact on my life. But the most memorable part was going to the Kotel on Shabbat. At that moment, with so many feelings going through my mind, then and there I knew what it was like to be Jewish. Love, Austin.” (Austin Winslow, Gold Coast Region)
“Dear Israel, You are the home, and you are the symbol, and you are the hope. Your history and beauty remind us Jews of the validity of our prayers. Israel, I see you for who/what you are and you have magic in you to heal and to help. Israel, you are appreciated. You teach us all around the world of the meaning of Judaism. Please continue to make everyone in awe of how beyond incredible you are. Keep flourishing, making your beauty even more prosperous, and please keep your character, which inevitably brings people together. I hope to see you soon. –Zoey.” (Zoey Goldberg, Northern Region East: DC Council)
Take Me Out to the Impact Ball Game
Posted on 07/19/2015 @ 11:30 PM
"Today we all went to China Town in DC and to a Nationals Baseball game. Overall I had a great time hanging out with all the amazing friends I've made at Impact DC. It was really hot outside and I felt kind of gross but I know that I will remember this day for a long time. In the evening after everyone had washed off the copious amounts of sweat off their bodies, we all had a very nice dinner and circle time. Hanging out with my circle, Martha's Table is definitely a highlight of my day because every time we talk we all have meaningful conversations and become closer as a group. I don't think I've ever felt so close to a group of people and I feel extremely blessed to have this opportunity. Impact DC has definitely made an impact on my life and I hope I can make an impact with my remaining days."
-Nacia Goldberg, North Florida Region
"I had an awesome time today having free time with my Impact friends in DC. We walked around China town and went into cute little shops. We then went to a Nationals versus Dodgers baseball game, although I don't follow sports teams I had so much fun! I watched the game, caught some sun, and drank a ton of water. I'm excited for the upcoming days! I'm excited for lobby day; I can't wait to talk about homelessness on the legislative side, and preventing people from becoming homeless in addition to helping them once they become homeless. I am looking forward to our limud session tomorrow and engaging in great conversations. I love my Impact friends and can't wait to hang out with them outside of Impact. We are already starting to plan a reunion! :)"
-Emma Parish, Greater Jersey Hudson River Region
Welcome to Kallah
Posted on 07/19/2015 @ 04:08 PM
Most BBYO programs are all about BBYO. Teens learn about how to be better leaders, how to recruit more members, how to run a chapter; pretty much everything that would come in handy in a BBYO high school career. Kallah is a totally different than any other BBYO program because it focuses all on Judaism and spirituality. Teens from all over the world came to B'nai B'rith Perlman Camp in Lake Como, Pennsylvania to learn about themselves and their Jewish beliefs.
On Tuesday, July 14, buses rolled in through the gates and Kallah officially began. The Kallah teens were greeted by their friends who were already at camp from ILTC, and there was excitement in the air as everyone caught up with old and new friends. The first night, we were introduced to the incredible coordinators Brittany and Jonah, the amazing Madrichim (a group of BBYO alumni and International staff), the educators from all over the world, and the leadership staff who makes sure everything runs smoothly. As we were introduced to the different activities offered to us, the excitement built up and we were ready to begin our spiritual journeys.
I have never been anywhere that has an atmosphere like the one here. I can tell that everyone is here to learn and have fun. I can tell that everyone feels relaxed and in his or her element. During meals, most tables are talking about the activities they participated in during the day and intense discussions that arose during different programs. There are debates everywhere over meaningful topics, and everyone here is strengthening their minds by the minute. In just a few days, we have already dug so deeply into our souls and learned so much, and the whole camp is anxious to discover what they will take home with them at the end of the summer.
Maddie Fleischmann, Southern Region: Atlanta Council
The Impact of Shabbat
Posted on 07/18/2015 @ 11:40 PM
“The committees did a great job running Shabbat services; I was intrigued by how the Shabbat committees ran their services and programs. It was the best Shabbat I have experienced in a long time. I led an Impact talk on Domestic Violence and taught my peers about the rising issue. It was challenging to facilitate but I felt fulfilled with taking myself out of my comfort zone. It was the best Shabbat I’ve experienced in BBYO ever.”
–Zach Gaines, Gold Coast Region
“I found it very interesting that even though we are from different parts of the country, we have so many similarities in Jewish customs. Although we may sing to slightly different rhythms tonight at Havdallah we sang in harmony. Spending Shabbat with my new Impact best friends left me feeling rested and excited for the days to come. I only have a few days of Impact left and I can’t wait to make every day count. This is more of an opinion than a fact, but everyone is loving their time at Impact.”
-Emma Parish, Greater Jersey Hudson River Region; North
“Wow what an amazing experience it has been for me to be at Impact. When I signed up as a last minute plan I was anxious as what to expect. Well, now I 'm here choosing to write and tell you on day seven I feel so comfortable. From meeting everyone at the airport to team building activities I can be myself and call everyone here apart of my BBYO family.”
-Lauren Kreda, Great Midwest Region
Looking Towards Shabbat
Posted on 07/17/2015 @ 07:00 PM
Hi! My name is Anna Fleisher from South Jersey Region #35. Today is only our first Shabbat at CLTC and I already feel so close with everyone. Working closely with my mock chapter has helped me with my leadership and teamwork skills. Having 67 teens travel from all different regions gives everyone an interesting perspective to the differences each region and chapter have. Each day, all of our leadership skills improve as we can bring what we learn back to our home chapters, and we can use them in the future for everyday purposes.
Feeling Grateful Before Shabbat
Posted on 07/17/2015 @ 05:30 PM
Today was my birthday and I could not have asked for a better one. Today started off on a great note (for me at least) as my circle group was dorm of the day and was in charge of waking everyone up in the morning; which we did to the loud music of Macklemore. However, the highlight of my day was not the wake up activities or all the birthday wishes, it was seeing my 12 Pre-K children at my Bright Beginnings service sight which is a free day care for homeless children in DC. The second I walked into the room I was greeted with smiles and hugs which continued throughout the whole day. We had snack time, read books, played tag on the playground, and even took a nap. If you saw these beautiful kids interact and play, you would forget how these kids may not have a bed to sleep in tonight.
It isn’t until I step on the bus to go back to Hillel that I think about this, and it makes me appreciate every single privilege that I have been given throughout my now 17 years of existence. I am so lucky to have parents that can give me a bed to sleep in at night and 3 steady meals a day. The fact that these kids do not have those same privileges has kept me up late these past couple of nights. These happy, smiling, and innocent kids deserve much better. I doubt my preschoolers will remember me in 15 years, but I will definitely remember them.
-Drew Grossman, Great Midwest Region
Making an Impact at Generation Progress National Summit
Posted on 07/17/2015 @ 12:00 AM
Today I learned the importance that my generation has to the United States and world politics. Through amazing speakers, I learned more than I could have ever in a class room setting. I learned about all different types of people and organizations. I began to feel a major connection with my fellow impacters, especially the girls that I went to the "It's On Us" program to end sexual assault with. When at this program, we discussed and listened to all different stories of people who have been affected by sexual assault . I became far more aware of the world around me, and the dangers that women face on college campuses everyday. Finally we got to close the day with an amazing and humbling speech given by Vice President Joe Biden.
-Julia Saltzman, The Ohio Northern Region
Reflecting On Our Community
Posted on 07/16/2015 @ 11:00 PM
Hello everyone from Day 3 of CLTC, this is Spencer Fuhr from Evergreen Region, Cameron Diamond from Lonestar Region, and Tyler Dodd from Nassau Suffolk Region. At the beginning, everyone coming to CLTC does not know what to expect, though most people come to make friends. But we have found that people begin to establish who they are within the first few hours. The staff does a great job of preventing people from feeling isolated, by interacting with them and others at the baggage claim and throughout the program. We also noticed that our fellow participants started to come together and form friendships as early as the first hours together at the airport and during icebreakers. We thought a lot about why/how this happens, and the conclusion we came to is that we, as Jewish teens all relate with one another through the common interest of two things, BBYO and Judaism. Throughout our BBYO careers, we have learned how to branch out, meet new people, and be outgoing people. We think this is exceptionally rare for teens of this generation to branch out and meet new people with such ease. But the thing about BBYO is that we all share a common goal, and that goal is to reach self-realization. Fraternally submitted with undying love for Chazak AZA #115, CLTC 6 2015, and the Global Jewish community.
Building Connections at CLTC 6
Posted on 07/16/2015 @ 12:31 AM
Hey y’all, it is day 2 of CLTC 6 and we are already having a blast. This is Nikki Goldin from Lonestar Region, Julia Keizler from New England Region, and Hannah Haine from Eastern Region, Virginia Council. Today our dorm is the “dorm of the day.” This means our mock chapter of 11 girls, which is also known as Yalla Osher BBG (“let’s go happiness”!) gets to choose a Jewish value theme for the day. Yalla Osher BBG chose the value of “Ahavat Ger.” This value addresses loving and talking to people all around you, including strangers. We enforced this today by encouraging others to find and talk to new people based off of similar characteristics. This proved to be incredibly beneficial to our fellow Alephs and BBGs. It feels great to know we might be the reason people have life long friends. We are already having a fantastic time here at CLTC, and we are anxiously awaiting these following days.
Service Sites, Monuments, Memories- Oh My!
Posted on 07/16/2015 @ 12:00 AM
My name is Rachel Maltz, and I'm representing Pacific Western Region #44 (Los Angeles) at Impact: DC. Today, we had a day full of service and touring. After breakfast, we split into our group service assignments around the Washington DC area. My group headed to A Wider Circle, which is dedicated to providing families with donated furniture and other home supplies. This organization helps to make an impact in the city by only distributing new or gently used items, in order to maintain dignity for the recipients. After sorting donations, we had an Israeli dance program at the Hillel in University of Maryland.
Tonight, we took a tour of monuments in downtown DC. First, we watched the sun go down over the Jefferson Memorial. After the sun had set, we continued with a walking night tour. Standing at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial while overlooking the Washington Monument, we felt a sense of community as we took pictures with all of our friends. We walked together towards the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, which was the powerful end to our tour. Today was a fun day of giving back to the community, having fun, and appreciating all of the sights in this beautiful city. We are all excited to welcome in Shabbat soon, and to attend the Generation Progress Summit tomorrow.
-Rachel Maltz, Pacific Western Region
Welcome to CLTC 6!
Posted on 07/15/2015 @ 12:00 AM
Welcome to CLTC 6 2015! We are your coordinators, Rebecca Lewis from Eastern Region and Colin Silverman from Great Midwest Region. We're so glad to say that everyone has arrived safely and we are all very excited for the upcoming 12 days. We spent the day getting to know each other and beginning to build our community.
The theme for CLTC this summer is "find yourself a teacher" whether that be staff, each other, or the two of us. For many participants, this is their first Summer Experience and we are eager to be a part of it and welcome them to BBYO on the International level. As everyone goes to bed tonight, we reflect on our first day together and prepare for the next 11 days of fun and learning.
Remember to continue to check the blog throughout the session for more posts from the participants!
Finding Hope at the Holocaust Museum
Posted on 07/15/2015 @ 12:00 AM
“Today we visited the United Stated Holocaust Memorial Museum in downtown DC. The permanent exhibits that we visited stirred emotions inside and made me feel closer to my heritage. We also took a ride on the metro, which was fun, plus we heard from s speaker from the ADL who talked about anti-Semitism and civil rights.” -Jason Richman, Gold Coast Region
“Today was an intense day and it was quite clear by the looks on everyone’s faces that something changed about the group as we walked into the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It was something I had not seen before; a new side of everyone. My favorite part of the day was the speaker from ADL because he spoke about topics that are very relevant and important to be up to date about.” -Margot Siegel, North Texas Oklahoma Region
“Today we went to the Holocaust Museum and even though I have already been, I was emotional towards the end. I feel that it’s important to learn as much as we can because we are the last generation that will ever hear from survivors. The metro is a fast paced area and it is always keeping me on my toes. I feel today I learned more about Judaism and myself.” -Jonas Berkowitch, Lonestar Region
“Today I visited the United Stated Holocaust Memorial Museum. It was a heavy trip and we all learned allot. I thought it was particularly upsetting that there were youth groups run by the Nazi party to get kids involved.” -Josh Berenzweig, Northern Region East
McPherson Square Reflection
Posted on 07/13/2015 @ 11:55 PM
Stories are one of the most important things in my life. A story is what defines the difference between man and wild, and everyone has one. Everyone has a series of defining moments that explain all of their experiences, desires, and what defines them as a person, and homeless people are no exception.
Today, I did something that I’ve never done before in feeding homeless people in McPherson square. I’ve done the whole soup kitchen thing where you make food for people and you know that the food is going to a great place, but I’ve never experienced the exchange for myself. And it was fascinating. There was one person I met who has been here since he was five. He stays here because he has his family and his friends whom he loves, and he enjoys a lot of the simple pleasures in life that we, as people of means, also enjoy. He was talking about going to movies and listening to music and just hanging out with good friends, which are things that don’t always come to my mind as things a person who is homeless would do. And there was another guy, whose name was Jackson. He’s been living in DC for years and has a daughter and is falling on harder times because his bike got stolen. He didn’t just love the bike because it was his way of getting around, but he loved feeling the nice breeze while riding and wearing crazy socks because people would always ask and compliment about his socks while he was riding.
One of the most important things I’ve ever learned in my life is that people are people first and their situation after that. Everyone’s situation is a story, and those stories are what make us human. Whether you have means, are homeless, have mental issues, are of a different race, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or background from me; you are human. Homeless people often get the shortest end of the stick because so many people think that their homelessness is their identity. Homeless people are simply people who happen to be homeless; often because of one bad decision or one key moment in their own lives. Their stories are rich and fruitful; and deserve to be told on listening ears because people are people first and everything else second.
-Michael Blickstein, Great Midwest Region
Making a Change in the World
Posted on 07/09/2015 @ 01:38 AM
Our second day here at CLTC 5 was an incredibly busy one. The teens had leadership sessions in their chapter, rotation on how we celebrate Shabbat, learned about public speaking and explored what unique traits they each bring to the communities that they are a part of. These are some of the questions that the teens though today:
What does it mean to be a leader? What qualities of a leader to you embody?
In their leadership sessions with their mock chapters (they chose names, numbers, colors, and mascots for these today!) they explored the components of what it means to be a good leader. By building their ideal leader, the teens were able to put words to the qualities that make them stand out. Additionally, all members of the CLTC community sat in a session facilitated by our wonderful Assistant Site Director, Rachel Heilbronner, about the importance of each and every member in a group.
What do you stand up for? What do you stand up against?
This evening, Alexis Prager, BBG Coordinator, and Alex Merritt, AZA Coordinator, led a program introducing Stand Up, BBYO’s grassroots initiative that mobilizes teens to take part in service, advocacy and philanthropy for causes that they believe in. Each teen got to take either a red or green paper plate and write something that they stand up against (red plates) or stand up for (green plates). The teens went around in a circle and shared their causes – it was an incredibly powerful moment for our community. After the program, the teens went back to their chapters and had a conversation about shared values, while choosing a Stand Up cause for their mock chapters.
Between high-energy song sessions, snack breaks, tacos for dinner, and beautiful weather, CLTC 5 is off to an amazing start.
We can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds!
"It inspired me to be more active in my community and stand up for what I believe in and help others do the same." -Lexi Atler, Michigan Region
Working at Jewish Vocational Services
Posted on 06/29/2015 @ 05:00 PM
JVS addresses the issue of refugee life and poverty. This is achieved by working to both educate the students and to help find jobs for those in need. JVS also helps bridge the cultural gap between their home countries and the United States. I admire the willingness of JVS to help people become independent.
One student has surprised me because of his strong desire to learn. At the beginning he was shy and didn’t really talk but now he is constantly asking questions and wants to learn more. He has a good understanding of English and although he's behind the other students, it is clear that he's eager to catch up. I love how willing the other students are to help him.
-Samara Langsam NRE:DC Council
Reflecting on Connections
Posted on 06/26/2015 @ 05:00 PM
Despite Impact Boston's focus on community action and hands on learning, my absolute favorite part of this program happens to be text study. Every day, 15 participants and myself spend an hour with Benny, one of the educators, for connections. Connections is a text- based study, designed to take an academic, and near philosophical perspective on the tangible change were creating in Boston's communities. The hour sessions are there to give us intellectual space throughout the day. My connections group takes it to the next level.
Every day, my entire group specifically looks forward to connections, and we're always left speechless and amazed by the end. Instead of treating connections as another class-type setting, we have turned it into intense discussion. Everyone feeds off of each other's ideas, and points made about the text always turn into collaboration. One of my favorite parts is how we all contribute a vibrant energy to each other during connections; we all participate to hear from and learn from each other. I think it's amazing how insightful and enthusiastic text-study can become for youth, especially over the summer. I now think that many teenagers don't give themselves enough credit for their hunger and capacity to learn, on any topic. When we all walked into connections for the first time, we were not enthusiastic, and some of us most likely didn't want to be there. Before we all made the session exciting, our educator taught us to love it. Benny Summers is a phenomenal person and teacher; he brings a new dimension to educating us. He facilitates the discussion, but he wants to learn from us as much as we do. He constantly pushes us to further our perspectives, and elaborate on our theories.
Connections has given me a greater insight into how to interpret text, as well as relate the readings to my own life. I feel that I gave a greater desire to read text in my own time, and continue the thought process I've created here. Whereas every participant has a distinct perspective to contribute to our sessions, I feel that somehow, they all meld into one message that we take away from our sessions each day. I cannot wait for today's lesson.
-Ellie Sullum: Liberty Region
An Update on United Cerebral Palsy
Posted on 06/25/2015 @ 10:00 PM
United Cerebral Palsy in Boston is an organization that works with those with Cerebral Palsy(CP) along with many other clients with disabilities such as down syndrome and dementia. After several days on site, teens have shared some incredible experiences of what it’s like to work with this demographic.
Today I worked with a woman who told me that she was overwhelmed with happiness and was so thankful that we did not treat her and the other clients as if they had a disability. She explained to me that she enjoys that we see them as human beings and not the diagnosis that the doctor gave. I found this so moving because though we are helping at this site, all of the clients are changing and impacting us.
-Alexa Herman NRE:DC Council
My site is UCP which stands for United Cerebral Palsy, and I just love it. The first day I was a tad worried on how the teens would take the site, but they dove right in. We immediately got to work, meeting the residents, befriending them, having fun, and participating in different activities. Monday was Game Show Day where we helped the residents play Trivia and Family Feud. Tuesday was Music Day, where we all danced and sang and just moved around having fun. Wednesday was Art Day, where we had the residents play with paint catapults, make dough animals, and paint press aprons! Thursday was Beach Day! All of us teens dressed up in tanks or Hawaiian shirts and helped the residents have a beach like experience. There were sand mats, where they could feel the sand, and small pools, where they could put their feet in and relax. I played catch, with a beach ball, with a client who loves the Celtics and is really energetic, and also hit the beach ball back and forth with a 91 year old client! He is hilarious and really good at playing catch and volleying the ball back and forth. It is absolutely amazing! I love it.
-Ari Segal: Michigan Region
A Day at Solutions at Work
Posted on 06/24/2015 @ 09:00 PM
Solutions at Work aims to support low income families in the Boston area through professional and children's clothing and toys. After three days on site, Haley was able to give some insight on what this experience has been like.
Today at Solutions at Work, I worked with five other teens from my site group to sort women’s shoes. Going into the task, I didn’t really understand how it could take the whole three hours that we would have there. Once I saw the shoe storage area though, it all made sense. There were tons of boxes lining the floor and stacked on top of one another, all filled with single shoes. Looking into the storage area, I began to worry that our group wouldn’t be able to finish before we had to leave.
Trying to figure out how to best tackle the challenge, we split into two groups: one to find a shoe’s match and complete the pair, and another to figure out what size shoe each pair was and organize them.I worked on the latter project, assuming it had to be the easier choice. I never would have thought that it would be so hard to identify a shoe size. Since these weren’t new, the sizes were often rubbed off from being worn, or blended into the bottom sole. After our three hours, all of the shoes had been sorted. It was an incredible feeling to quickly complete tasks that would have taken the staff a long time. We could all feel her immense gratitude and appreciation.
Although we didn’t directly interact with the clients that Solutions at Work helps, the impact that was made on the organization itself could be felt by everyone. It made those three hours of digging through boxes and squinting in the dark well worth it.
-Haley Hauptman: Great Midwest Region
A Look into Hebrew Senior Life Roslindale
Posted on 06/23/2015 @ 08:00 PM
Today, teens at the Hebrew Senior Life Roslindale service site spoke a little bit about the impressionable experience they’ve had so far.
We walked into Hebrew Senior Life Roslindale and the first thing I saw was an old women with a caregiver who looks lonely. As we go through the building there were doll models, paintings, and projects everywhere. We’re told the art is done by the residents and I’m amazed by that because it’s so meaningful and there is a story behind each piece. It’s a sign of the resident’s expression. The staff educated us about dementia. I sat down next to a resident. There had been another resident who couldn’t say my name and she corrected her. That correction made me connect with her. She told me all about here life. This day reminded me to always be grateful for the small things, like walking, swallowing, and waking up every morning. This service site has made me realize how lucky and privileged I am.
-Hana Hofeld: Great Midwest Region
Although working with elderly with dementia may be difficult at times, putting a smile on their face is like no other feeling. I look forward to interacting with different people at the site, but also the different people on the Impact program.
-Scott Meyer: Pacific Western Region
Another exciting day here at Impact:Boston! We went back to Hebrew senior Life where we bounced around the dining hall talking to various residents. I made a connection with a resident while there and it was so special to see so many of us talking to the residents. But more than that, it was special to see how the residents responded to what we were saying. This was something I will never forget.
-Abe Shapiro: Pacific Western Region
Today at the site, I spoke more with two of the people at the Hebrew Senior Life Center. The first woman, just turned 90 years old. She told me all about where she was when she heard WW II was over. She explained how her husband was in the war and how happy she was when she knew he would be returning. I loved seeing the joy and happiness in her eyes, while she reminisced on this memory. The second women, told me all about her life before Hebrew Senior Life and how wonderful it was. The sad part was when she talked about her husband and how he died very young. I could sense the sadness she felt and I felt empathetic. After we finished talking she said, “thanks for listening!” This made me realize how impactful our work is with the residents and how rewarding it can be.
-Sonia Holstein: Great Midwest Region