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Lonestar teens honored at BBYO International Convention

View this story in the Jewish Herald Voice

Sixty-six Lonestar teens joined more than 4,000 teen leaders, educators, professionals and philanthropists from 48 states and 27 countries at the BBYO International Convention in Baltimore from Feb. 11-15.

At the Convention’s opening, BBYO announced the recipient of its 2016 BBG Alumna of the Year Award to be Houstonian Karen Lerner. A native of Tulsa, Okla., Lerner is the former president of BBYO Texoma Region (now Lonestar Region and North Texas/Oklahoma Region). Over the last eight years, she has played the key role in establishing the Friends and Alumni Network for Lonestar Region. Her tireless work locally raised hundreds of thousands of dollars during that time span. Lerner’s success led her to take on the chairmanship of the FAN program nationally, where she works with alumni in other regions to support local BBYO programs.

Another plum for Lonestar Region came about when Liam Faigen from The Emery/Weiner School and member of Randy Reisbord AZA was elected grand aleph mazkir (secretary of marketing, communications, globalization and fund-raising) of the international AZA and BBG boards. He will be a part of a 10-¬member teen board that will help chart the organization’s vision for the coming year and provide leadership and support to teen leaders in local communities throughout the BBYO system.

With an attendance growth of 182 percent since 2012, International Convention 2016 served as a dynamic meeting place and real-world class-room, providing today’s teen leaders an invaluable opportunity to join together for insights, shared leadership resources and new skills they will use to change the world. This year’s featured speaker was New York Times commentator David Brooks.

“As enormous changes unfold around us and throughout the world, BBYO’s leadership, both teen and adult, realize that the future of the Jewish community is brighter when we all come together,” said Matthew Grossman, BBYO chief executive officer. “This event truly offers a unique opportunity for them to see how the BBYO local experience translates into being part of something bigger than themselves – the global Jewish people.”

Nearly 30 leadership labs addressed advocacy, philanthropy, marketing, social entrepreneurship, political engagement, civic leadership, Israel, education, environmental protection and chapter and program development.

“It was so inspiring to hear from so many amazing speakers,” said The Emery/Weiner School’s Ahava Guefen, age 15. “It’s crazy to think just how strong our movement is, and seeing everyone come together to learn about our faith and to participate in programming really moved me. Now, back in Lonestar, I am more inspired than ever to lead the Jewish community into a bright future.”

The teens also took part in the experience of breaking a Guinness World Record by joining together for the largest Shabbat dinner ever.

For more information on BBYO contact lsr@bbyo.org. Follow @LSRBBYO on Twitter and Instagram and BBYO Lonestar Region on Facebook to keep up with all things Lonestar

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