Teen Philanthropy & Leadership

J-Teen Philanthropy Initiative

9th -12th Grade

The J-Teen Philanthropy Initiative (JTPI) aims to inspire a diverse group of high school students to make a real difference in the greater Houston Community and beyond. Participants will raise and allocate upwards of $10,000 to address real community issues through a consensus building and project-based learning model. Teens will meet bi-monthly to research, explore organizations, and causes they wish to support, learn about the process of grant making, hear from local philanthropists, and explore Jewish values.

Since 2018, JTPI has granted over $60,000 to dozens of Houston-based non-profits, including Second Servings, Jewish Family Services: Sources of Strength, RaiseUp Families, The Women’s Home, and Target Hunger.

Target Teen Leadership

10th – 11th Grade

Target Teen Leadership is a semester long experiential leadership training program for 20 existing and high potential 10th and 11th graders in the greater Houston Jewish community. Teens will receive exposure and awareness to a breadth of Jewish community executives and agencies, develop a network of peers across the community and provide tools and resources for a variety of leadership topics that are applicable to present day and in the future through a Jewish lens. Nomination and application required.


9th – 12th Grade

The Houston regional J-Serve is a collaborative partnership between teen leaders across greater Houston and supported by professional multi-generational leaders from BBYO, Kehillah High, the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston. For more information on how you can participate in J-Serve, please click here.

J-Teen Ambassadors

8th – 12th Grade

J Teen Ambassadors will volunteer their time to contribute ideas and feedback to program areas that are of specific interest to them.  They will have the opportunity to improve upon existing programs and influence programs under development.  Teen feedback may be obtained through meetings, group discussions, or surveys. Volunteer/service hours will be given based upon level of participation.

There are many areas of programming where J Teen Ambassadors can contribute including but not limited to: the new fitness and aquatics center, the new culinary studio, arts and culture, inclusivity/ diversity, and more.

Registration for the J Teen Ambassador program is open to teens in 8th through 12th grade. Click here to submit registration. Teens will select areas of interest on the registration form and will then be contacted by Barrie Skalsky to discuss current opportunities in that area and service hours that can be obtained.


Rising 10th Graders

As a counselor-in-training (C.I.T.), teens in 10th grade will gain the skills necessary to lead and be successful as a future camp counselor! During the first week, CITs participants will learn how to be effective role models, gain insight into youth and adolescent development, and build a repertoire of games, activities, language, and techniques that will enhance their ability to create a safe, positive and fun camp environment. The second and third week of being a CIT includes being assigned to a specific camp to assist existing staff in supervising campers, supporting group activities and enriching the social and educational experience of the campers. CPR and First Aid training is provided during the first week. Teens will earn 60 volunteer hours.

Teens can be a CIT for both sessions that are being offered. Please contact Barrie Skalsky for more information.

Teen Employment Opportunities

Have your first job at the J! Starting at 15, teens are eligible to work in various departments including camp, aquatics, KidZone and fitness. See what teens are saying about working at the J.

“I love seeing the direct effect my influence makes on the children, especially seeing their smiles!” – Bailey, J Camps counselor

“I like working as a lifeguard because it gives me responsibility and experience in safety and regulation while getting to spend time with my friends and coworkers.” – Victoria, lifeguard

Check out our career page and get started on your application!

Barrie Skalsky

Teen Engagement Coordinator