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BBYO Teens Wrap Up a Winning Year

Read this story in the Connecticut Jewish Ledger

The Connecticut Valley Region BBYO wraps up its program year at the end of June. And what a busy and satisfying year it has been, with more than 1500 Jewish teens from across Connecticut and Western Massachusetts taking part in the youth group’s social and community-oriented programs. Some of this year’s highlights:

• A new BBYO chapter took root in Greenwich with almost 50 new BBYO teens joining in the first year

• Five BBYO members celebrated their b’nai mitzvah

• BBYO teens collected more than 400 pairs of hats and gloves for children affected by Hurricane Sandy

• BBYO member completed over 2,000 service hours of community service and raised more than $10,000 for various causes

• Four members participated in March of the Living and an additional 20 will travel to Israel with BBYO this summer

• Through partnerships with the Stamford JCC and the Mandell JCC in West Hartford, this year the group engaged more than 350 middle schoolers in the BBYO Connect program. Next year, the program is set to launch in Greenwich and New Haven. AZAA 2

The Annual AZAA Boys Basketball Tournament and BBGG Girls Basketball Tournament. Exodus AZA from Woodbridge won the boys’ tournament.

Most recently, BBYO held Shabbat services in Newtown on the six-month anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. BBYO has had a presence in Newtown for many years. On the evening of June 14, the chapter of Genesis BBYO was re-charted as Noah Pozner BBYO, honoring the memory of six-year-old Noah Pozner, who was among those killed.

In addition, taking to heart the request of Noah’s mother who, at his funeral, asked people to plant trees in Israel in her son’s memory, BBYO teens dedicated themselves to an online fundraising campaign, selling t-shirts and bracelets, that raised enough money to plant a grove of 1,000 trees in the little first-grader’s memory. The teens also presented Noah’s family with the tree certificate on June 14.

As the Ledger went to press on June 25, BBYO teens were just arriving in New York City for “BBYO Stand UP and Rebuild: A Teen Issue Summit on the Power of Service,” a two-day event in which Jewish teens from around the world will come together to show their support for the victims of Hurricane Sandy by engaging in hands-on projects to help rebuild the affected communities.

Stand UP and Rebuild is open to all Jewish teens in grades 9-12. Seventeen Connecticut teens are among the 100 teens taking part in this important project. Josh Cohen, director of the Connecticut Valley Region BBYO, will lead the project.

The newly elected BBYO Regional Board for 2013-2014 includes:

AZA Boys Board: President, Samuel Shapiro, Willimantic; VP of Programming, Skylar Morley, Ridgefield; VP Membership, Zach Alter, Avon; Communication/Social Media, Peter D’Agostino, Ridgefield; Judaic Content/Community Service, Josh Frieser, Stamford; Treasurer, Ricky MacGregor, Ridgefield; Spirit/Social Jake Teplitzky, Woodbridge.

BBG Girls Board: President Emmie Herbstman; VP Programming Amelia Abemayor, Chappaqua, N.Y.; VP Membership, Emmy Goodman, Longmeadow, Mass.; Communication/Social Media, Sammy Polinsky, Avon; Judaic Content/Community Service, Talia Weseley, Westport; Treasurer, Daryl Pazer, Ridgefield; Spirit/Social, Sophie Handler, Stamford.

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