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Local Teens Take Leading Roles in International Youth Groups

Read this story in the St. Louis Jewish Light

From fundraising to social justice projects, several Jewish organizations that cater to teens offer them great opportunities to get involved, do important service work and meet like-minded peers. Three such organizations are the National Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY), United Synagogue Youth (USY), and B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO).

Three Parkway Central High School students were recently elected to be on an international board for each of these organizations. Junior Gabby Mesnier was voted into BBYO, senior Joe Goldberg was voted into USY, and senior Jacob Maier was voted into NFTY. Simchas Ad

“I have been involved with BBYO since I was in eighth grade,” Gabby said. “My older brother was a member and made me come, and from then on I loved it and continued to participate.”

Gabby will serve as Vice President of Membership, or Aym HaChaverot. Her term begins this June and will last for a year.

“The responsibilities of my new position are membership, recruitment, retention and education,” Gabby said. “I am in charge of making sure that every region, council and country works to their fullest ability to get to their membership goals, as well as working as an advisor to many regional, council and chapter counterparts worldwide.”

Joe was elected to the board as Social Action/Tikun Olam Vice President. He was elected at the 2013 International Convention in December and will serve until after the 2014 International Convention.

“I am responsible for collecting money throughout the year as our form of tikkun olam,” Joe said. “My primary goal is for every USYer to have their own story and turning point of when social action and tikkun olam spoke to them, when they became inspired as social activists.”

Jacob has been involved with NFTY since his sophomore year. His position also lasts for a year, and he will be installed as communications vice president over the summer.

“A couple of my responsibilities are running the regional Communications Vice President Network and keeping up with NFTY’s social networks,” Jacob said. “One of the things I hope to accomplish this year is engaging reform Jewish youth across the country through communication and social networking.”

Each teen feels excited and honored to serve on his or her respective international boards. They have unique ideas to try and help positively influence the organization through their new positions.

“Social action is more than sitting through a project; it is taking a stand through advocacy and action,” Joe said. “Tikkun olam is not just about donating money; tikkun olam is ‘repairing the world’ by working together as a unified community to make a difference in the lives of others.”

Along with Joe, Gabby and Jacob also feel a responsibility towards their organizations. Each teen feels dedicated and devoted to making the most out of their recent opportunities.

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