On April 11, Community Action Day took place with 40 excited teens from around the North Shore, ready to give back. It all started on a brisk Sunday morning: volunteers showed up early and eager to help prepare for the day. They set up tables, organized bags and prepared supplies and sanitation stations, and were ready to welcome all the incoming teens excitedly.

When the teens arrived with hungry bellies and a positive attitude, they were greeted with a smiling face directing them where to go. Teens then went to the table assigned with their community service track where they picked up all supplies needed for the day. They proceeded to walk over to the waffle truck to pick out a waffle with as many toppings as their heart desired; there were seven ice cream flavors! 

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An hour later, everyone logged onto the Zoom to commence the volunteering. Opening ceremonies occurred with one icebreaker activity with multiple questions. This way everyone was warmed up and ready to split into their event. Volunteers picked between three tracks on an earlier survey: Foster Care Awareness, Combating Antisemitism and Supporting the Older Adult Community.

Eliana Levine, 16, from Swampscott, said, “My session at North Shore CAD was special to me because I had never gotten the chance to lead an event like that before. I got to communicate with new people and make it happen to the best of my ability. During the event, it was inspiring to see everyone so excited to give back. I could feel the happiness that we were going to pass on to the foster families with our flowers and pots, and it’s a feeling that I hope to experience next year on CAD if I get the chance.”

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Sofia Vatnik, 18, from Marblehead, shared, “This year at CAD I was honored with the opportunity to make cards for the elderly community at Jewish Family & Children’s Service. While making cards for someone is always a nice thing to do, making them for elderly people has always been special to me. Ever since I was young I’ve always written friends and family cards for special occasions. When I was older I started to see the impact this created on my grandparents and older family members. Reading the card I wrote to them made them feel less lonely. I knew that one smile at a time I could make them happier, which in the end made them healthier. The elderly people have such an unforgettable impact on our lives and it’s important to always honor and remember them.” 

Teens painted 25 flower pots for foster families part of Plummer Youth Promise, painted 18 canvases for a fighting antisemitism mural and sent 26 greeting cards to older adults involved with Jewish Family & Children’s Service while being educated and having discussions on related topics. Throughout the event, screenshots were taken to document this fabulous day. By the time the teens logged off, they felt educated and fulfilled knowing they took action in their community to help others and truly made a difference. 

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Louisa Caplan, 17, is from Swampscott.

Powered by BBYO New England Region, Temple Emanu-El of Marblehead, Congregation Shirat Hayam of the North Shore, Repair the World – Boston, Lappin Foundation, StandWithUs and Epstein Hillel School with support from a CJP Teen Community Impact Grant in partnership with Jewish Teen Initiative at CJP.

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