BBYO Connects Local Teens to a Strong, Vibrant Community
Read this story in the Heritage Florida Jewish News
Founded on May 3, 1924 with the first chapter of the high school fraternity, the Aleph Zadik Aleph (AZA), for young men in Omaha, Nebraska, BBYO grew to include young women with the founding of the B'nai B'rith Girls (BBC), AZA's sister program, on April 22,1944 in San Francisco, Calif.
Today, BBYO is a welcoming home to the more than 40,000 Jewish teens who take part in programming around the world. Participants find a safe place where they can be themselves, learn, lead, serve and have fun with friends who become brothers and sisters.
"I attended ILTC (International Leadership Training Conference) this summerand participated in Jewish learning sessions to learn more about my Jewish leadership style. I'm now able to-explain what I believe in, why I believe it, and how I will advocate for it," said Austin Kansol, high school junior and regional secretary.
As a part of BBYO North Florida Region, local Jewish teens not only connect to an organization with a rich, vibrant history and inspiring alumni network, but they also have access to programming focused on leadership skills, community service, identitybuilding and Jewish values. Over the past year, BBYO teens in Orlando have led canned food drives for the Pearlman Food Pantry, campaigned for clean water in countries around the world, and developed meaningful friendships with Jewish teens throughout Orlando, Tampa, Sarasota and Naples. Internationally, they heard from community leaders like Israeli PrimeMinister Benjamin Netanyahu and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg at BBYO's annual International Convention and joined 10,000 other Jewish teens giving back to their community through J-Serve, the international day of Jewish youth service.
"BBYO is my home away from home. I've learned an amazing amount from BBYO, not only about Judaism, but also about myself," said Sarah Michel, high school senior and current Waldflowers BBG chapter president.
BBYO in Orlando kicks off the school year with a pool party at the Roth Jewish Community Center on Aug. 17 for teens entering 9th through 12th grade. It will include a short parent meeting for parents to meet other BBYO parents and learn about the variety of opportunities BBYO has to offer over the next year. For more information, contact Lory Conte, BBYO Director at LConte@bbyo.org or 407-621-4032.