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The More We Do, The More We Learn!

Posted on 07/10/2014 @ 05:00 PM

Today was another amazing day at IMPACT: Chicago. After a great breakfast, I went to my service site, UCAN Chicago, for the third time so far in the program. UCAN is an organization that provides resources for underprivileged and abused youth. My service site specifically travels to a youth treatment center to help out with maintenance and interact with the kids at the facility. Today we finished up organizing a library that had previously gone unused because of how disorganized it was. Now the library can actually be used as a resource for the young people at the center. Later next week, we’re going to do a Question and Answer session with the kids, and an immersion simulation to see what a day at the house feels like.

We also had a guest speaker, Lori Zisook, come and speak about Keshet Day School, which is specifically for people with disabilities. She taught us a lot about how to interact properly with people with a wide range of disabilities, and helped us learn how to be more accepting and understanding. She even left us with a sheet that listed out the proper terminology to reference when speaking about people with disabilities.

Jackson Block, Madrich for the IMPACT: Chicago program, then led us in an activity about the positive and negative ways social media can be used. We discussed the possible consequences that posting negative or derogatory things on social media can have on numerous aspects of your life. Next, we went to dinner, and after working in various committees for Shabbat activities, we moved back into our service site groups. There, we began planning our presentations on our specific service site, which will be shown at a grand ceremony at the end of IMPACT in front of all the participants and people that work at each of the service sites. After a long, fun day of community service and learning, we went out into the campus at the University of Chicago and watched a screening of “Frozen” on a huge screen, the perfect ending to an already great day. I can’t wait to see what we do next!

-Noah Shapiro: Northern Region East: DC Council

Weather report for Thursday July 10th: Mostly sunny. Stray rain shower may occur. Chance of precip 20%. High of 75. Courtesy of


We Are Making Moves!

Posted on 07/09/2014 @ 05:00 PM

Today was our second day at our service sites, which for me means KAM Gardens. As a part of their food sustainability program, KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation helps to maintain gardens not only on the synagogue’s grounds, but also at a couple of churches in the area. As a part of the program, KAM teaches children and families how to compost and maintain their own gardens.

We started out by learning what it takes to write a grant to obtain money that will then be used to maintain these gardens and host programs like ours. After that, we got more hands on and pulled weeds in the plant beds that we will later use to plant our crops. We then made markers, stones painted with different crops, to mark the places of the seeds we will put in the plant bed and keep track of what crops we’re growing.

My favorite part of today was pulling the weeds because it was the first true hands on experience we've had at our site. It made me feel really good to be giving back and to know that my work will have an impact on others. I can’t wait to go back to KAM tomorrow and continue making my mark on the city of Chicago.

After we got back from our service sites, we had a campus-wide scavenger hunt, lead by Daniel Follmer, Admissions Director for The University of Chicago. We split up into groups and competed to see who could find the most places from the hints that we were given. The winning team (my team) found 8 of the places on our list and got UChicago swag.

After dinner we broke into our experience groups and learned El Sistema with a guest speaker, Albert Oppenheimer, and about mission statements. We all contributed ideas for possible mission statements for our service sites and compared our ideas to the actual mission statement for KAM.

Zoë Finkelstein Mountain Region Las Vegas, Nevada

Weather for Wednesday July 9th: 30% chance of AM rain, otherwise sunny. High near 77 Courtesy of


Service Sites Have Begun!

Posted on 07/08/2014 @ 05:00 PM

Today at IMPACT: Chicago, we woke up early to go to our service sites. Everybody was very nervous, but it was exciting to experience our volunteer work for the first time this trip. I went to Montgomery Place to assist the elderly in their everyday lives. We helped pass out newspapers, played games, drew, and talked to many interesting residents. One of the highlights of the day was playing Family Feud with the residents. At first, only a few of us played in a small room. However, as time progressed more and more people came and the room filled with smiles and happiness.

Other teens here went to UCAN and KAM, two organizations that will be spoken about more in depth in the following blogs.

After that we had free time where we were able to explore the University of Chicago campus. Then we went to Hillel to discuss our volunteer work. We also did a program on first impressions and racial profiling, using the Humans of New York blog. We set up another activity where we all drew outlines of our hands, and throughout the week, other participants will write compliments inside them. After eating dinner (which was absolutely scrumptious), we listened to a speaker about the LGBTQ community. It was very informative and we all learned a lot. Finally, the campus police came and discussed safety rules in an entertaining PowerPoint presentation.

It was a long day, but I can’t wait for tomorrow.

Alex Hoffman, Pacific Western Region

One IMPACT: Chicago participant, Jacob Goodman, keeps a daily weather blog. The weather for tomorrow from is going to be a high of 82 degrees and a low of 61 degrees. There is a 50% chance of pm thunderstorms.


Impact: Chicago is HERE! We have all arrived safe and sound.

Posted on 07/07/2014 @ 05:00 PM


We are Eliana DuBosar and Linus Gordon and we are your teen coordinators for IMPACT: Chicago 2014! We are very excited to start off our IMPACT blog, which will be updated every day with stories from our participants about their service sites as well as the trips we go on.

Today, all the participants arrived and we went straight into icebreakers to get to know everybody. We started with a fun game of Rock-Paper-Scissors Champion of the World, in which one participant walked away victorious with a cheering crowd. We also divided into our service site groups and got the 4-1-1 on each site. We discussed the differences and similarities between the two types of giving within Judaism, and how philanthropy overlaps within Judaism.

We ended the night with an interactive program that introduced the participants to a few of the places we will be visiting while in Chicago such as Navy Pier, Millennium Park, the Museum of Science and Industry, Michigan Avenue, and the University of Chicago Campus itself. The participants learned about Chicago’s population density, life on a college campus, and Chicago music among other things.

All of our participants arrived excited and ready to go for the next twelve days ,and some even told us what they were most excited for.

Alex Hoffman Pacific Western Region "I'm really excited to make new friends and learn skills that I can use to help the world"

Samantha Sinder Kentucky Indiana Ohio Region "I'm really excited to start working at my service site. I also really love the city of Chicago so I can't wait to get out and see more of it."

Jamie Kotler Northern Region East: DC Council "I'm really excited to learn about giving back and philanthropy while having fun."

That's all for today here at IMPACT: Chicago. The two of us are so ready and excited for the days to come. For the remainder of the program, this blog will be updated daily by participants sharing their experiences here in Chicago.

Eliana DuBosar, Gold Coast Region Linus Gordon, Pacific Wester Region



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