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Jewish Teens Repair the World Through Stand UP Initiative

Read this story in the Jewish Community Voice

One of BBYO’s initiatives, Stand UP, empowers teens to identify a cause that inspires them and allows them to create their own campaign to affect positive change in their local and global community. Through this global initiative, Jewish teens can take action and tackle the issues and causes they care about most. It empowers a generation of young Jewish leaders who are self-aware and motivated to become agents of change within and beyond the Jewish community. Stand UP is an opportunity to voice passions and make a real difference in the community and the world. BBYO participants from around the globe are constantly launching new campaigns, creating new resources and finding new opportunities to be a part of.

Rooted in Jewish obligation and BBYO tradition, Stand UP is a new understanding of the old practice of Tikkun Olam— repairing the world around us. By implementing their own campaigns at the local, regional and international level, teens gain invaluable experiences in the areas of community service, philanthropy and advocacy, growing important skills to become effective change makers and contributing participants of the greater Jewish community.

South Jersey Region (SJR) has been actively participating in Stand UP since its beginning in 2009. South Jersey Region and each chapter in SJR elect a specific cause or issue that they will advocate, fundraise and perform community service for. The cause SJR has elected for the 2014-2015 year is Pediatric Illnesses.

“Stand UP gives me an opportunity to volunteer and give back to the community in a way where I enjoy it while doing it with my friends,” said Jenna Camacho of Tovah BBG.

Because Stand UP is so important to the community around us, SJR held its first Jewish Leadership Training Institute (JLTI) session on Stand UP, led by the Regional Shlichim (VP of Jewish Programming) Rachel Cohen and Andrew Quigley. The night started off with the Stand-Up Game, where teens would stand up if the statement that was said applied to them. Through this game, teens learned about Stand UP events that happened in other chapters and different ways to help out the community.

Further into the night, the teens went through the different components of Stand UP: Service, philanthropy and advocacy (SPA). Next, a list of different causes was compiled. The list was broken down so the causes could incorporate all three SPA components. After a list of strong causes was identified, groups were made to create two ideas/programs for each SPA component around a certain cause. The night ended with over 30 teens being better educated in the importance of Tikkun Olam and how to help the community in an effective way.

“I learned a lot of new things and I feel like it will help me become a better Jewish leader,” said Drew Hoffman of Woodcrest AZA.

Overall, JLTI was successful in teaching teens on how to repair the world around them through an effective Stand UP campaign. South Jersey teens will be helping the community in more ways than ever.

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