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300 Houston Jewish Teens Serve the Community on April 2, 2017
 
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
by mgroogan

300 HOUSTON JEWISH TEENS SERVE THE COMMUNITY ON INTERNATIONAL DAY OF YOUTH SERVICE, APRIL 2nd

Houston, TX– 300 Houston area teens, along with nearly 13,000 Jewish teens in 90 communities across 20 countries, will participate in a day of community service and improvement projects as they take part in J-Serve, an International Day of Jewish Youth Service on April 2, 2017. This year marks the thirteenth year that Jewish youth from around the world will turn out in force for J-Serve in an effort to encourage community building and connections across religious and societal lines. Since it’s beginning in 2005, and through 2016, J-Serve experienced extraordinary growth: a 150% increase in community participation, a 240% increase in teen engagement and an 850% increase in countries involved. 

 

The Houston J-Serve project, inVISIBLE Differences:  Embrace.  Engage. Empower is hosted by the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC, BBYO, Kehillah High and NCSY. This year’s teen leadership committee, including 26 Jewish high school students from across the Houston area, have worked together with adult advisors to design a multi-faceted program that gives teens many ways to make a difference. Throughout the day of J-Serve our keynote speaker, community service expo and the various service sites help us raise awareness and take action for those with visible and invisible differences in Houston, Israel and the world. 

 

Teens will begin the day with a performance by a diversity troupe called “Collective Consciousness Theater”. They have designed an inspiring interactive experience to kick-off the day. This year’s J-Serve program is uniquely designed with a “service with” focus, where we have created opportunities for participants to work side-by-side with participants from other faiths, abilities and cultures. We have four distinct service tracks for the teens to choose from. “Helping Hands” has various off-site visits to the Veteran’s hospital, a local church, Celebration Company and bowling with teens with special needs. “Building Bridges” brings together high school students from church youth groups to work with Jewish teens to build a community art project, participate in diversity teambuilding games and do hands-on service projects. “Appreciating Abilities” has two options for doing service with adults with disabilities; one focused on sports, and the other on games and a community art project. “Redefining Mental Health” is a track that includes a panel of young adults who will candidly share their experiences struggling with various mental health issues, a stress management seminar, and several projects for veterans and the homeless.

 

J-Serve Houston’s inVISIBLE Differences Program is one of more than 250 international projects in which 7th through 12th grade teens will participate as they explore the Jewish values of gemilut chasadim, acts of loving kindness; tzedakah, just and charitable giving; and tikkun olam, the responsibility to repair the world. J-Serve Houston 2017 is the Jewish service component of Youth Service America’s annual Global Youth Service Day and is a collaboration of the JCC, BBYO and Repair the World, in partnership with Good Deeds Day. J-Serve is generously underwritten by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and is supported by partner agencies Foundation for Jewish Camp, JCCA, Jewish Federations, Jewish Student Unions, Jewish Teen Funders Network, NCSY, NFTY, Rock the Vote, USY and Young Judea.

 

"J-Serve reflects the dedication and passion that so many Jewish teens across the world have for making the world a better place,” said Lynn Schusterman, Founder and Co-Chair of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. “I feel proud to know that the next generation is ready and willing to step up and be the change they wish to see in the world through J-Serve.”

 

Those interested in participating in a J-Serve project can find additional information on the J-Serve website at www.jserve.org or by contacting Alex Fritsch, Houston Area J-Serve Project Coordinator at afritsch@erjcchouston.org or by phone at 713.729.3200. 

WHAT:

J-Serve Houston

WHEN:

Sunday, April 2 from 12:30 PM–5:00 PM

VISUALS:

Collective Consciousness Theater, 1:00 PM

“Service With” projects will be from 2:30 PM-4:00 PM

WHERE:

Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center

5601 South Braeswood, Houston, TX 77096

 

 

Please contact Melissa Levin (MelissaRubensteinLevin@yahoo.com or 713.898.9366) if you would like to interview event leaders or participants prior to the event.


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