With the start of a new year, we usually take this time to reflect on the year that past. We think about what we can do to make the next year better, for ourselves and those around us. For me, one of the most rewarding pieces of this past year was working with TELEMyouth and B’nai TELEM students as they explored different areas of community service. As our program expands and more students become engaged in community service, TELEM has the opportunity to help more service agencies in need.
I had the wonderful opportunity to see many of our TELEM and B’nai TELEM students in action at their service sites. From a group of 7th grade students volunteering at First Parish in Cambridge, serving warm meals to those in need, to a group of seniors in high school organizing a prom for residents at a senior facility in Brockton. Every one of the TELEMyouth and B’nai TELEM participants are truly inspiring to me and to see their commitment to community service is very humbling.
For some of the younger students, this is their first involvement with community service. Many start off the year hesitant and uneasy about what they might experience. By the end of the year, however, the students are visibly excited about volunteering and having a shared experience with their peers that they can talk about on the bus or in school.
Many TELEMyouth are returning for a second or third year or have already participated in B’nai TELEM. They are immediately comfortable at their service site, sometimes catching up with people they already know. Over the year, their relationship with the service site and the people they see week after week continues to grow and becomes something truly meaningful and enduring.
For the New Year, I am hoping that all Jewish youth in the Greater Boston area will make a commitment to service. Commit to making a difference. Commit to making a positive impact on the community. To find out how you can become involved in B’nai TELEM or TELEMyouth, please visit our website www.telemyouth.org.
Emily Reichman is the Senior Program Coordinator for the TELEM program. She can be reached at email@example.com or 617-457-8669.