This year I, Max Sarosi, along with 24 other Jewish teens from the Bay Area, am a member of the Marin/San Francisco Jewish Teen Foundation.
WHAT IS THE JEWISH TEEN FOUNDATION?
The Jewish Teen Foundation, or JTF, is an initiative created by the Jewish Community Federation that enables ordinary teenagers, just like me, to come together and discuss world issues and how to solve them. After deep discussion and extensive research, we, as a board of young teens, have committed to an endeavor to change the world, and specifically help young people just like us.
Learn more about JTF at: https://jewishfed.org/get-involved/jewish-teen-foundations
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH HELPING AT-RISK YOUTH?
Every year, the JTF board crafts a mission statement. This is known to be one of the most difficult parts of the entire process, as 25 teens all have to agree to a sentence that will guide the entire board in terms of what cause we will be addressing, and how we will address that cause. After hours of debate, we came to consensus on a single mission- “to support the health and education needs of at-risk youth and young adults through prevention and early intervention solutions.”
WHAT IS AT-RISK YOUTH?
At-risk youth is the term we decided to use to describe the youth that are being prevented from following their dreams, due to poverty, abuse, lack of education, hunger, homelessness and more.
HOW ARE WE HELPING AT-RISK YOUTH?
As our mission reads, our board will focus on the health and education of youth who do not receive such, because we decided that youth who are healthy and educated are youth who are ready to go out into the world and follow their dreams. As a board, we are not directly supporting youth, but rather supporting organizations chosen and vetted by us that address and work towards our goal.
WHY SHOULD YOU SUPPORT AT-RISK YOUTH?
The golden question. While it may be overlooked sometimes, youth are the most vulnerable group in every crisis and disaster around the world. In conflict zones, they are left defenseless and prone to abuse and trafficking. In times of famine and drought, they are the first to suffer. 2.2 million Syrian refugee children are currently out of school, struggling just to stay alive. This is a generation, of which I am a part of, that is the future of our planet, but unfortunately is facing some of the worst situations the world has ever seen. As Nelson Mandela so elegantly put it, “the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.” We cannot continue to allow youth around the world, this planet’s future, to miss out on their education and development due to not having enough food to eat, or a school house to study in.
The health and education of our future generation is what is going to guarantee the future success of this planet and humankind. We must all act now.
IF I DONATE WHERE WILL THE MONEY GO?
If you donate to my cause, it will go towards our board’s $68,000 goal. Once the fundraising process concludes, and we hopefully reach and surpass our goal, the board will get together and allocate grants between $5,000 and $10,000 to the organizations we have chosen. In most cases, we are funding specific projects, so the money you donate and we allocate will NOT go towards the administrative budgets of these organizations, but rather directly to helping the at-risk youth we aim to support. For more specifics on which organizations and projects we will be funding, feel free to email me at [email protected]. An example:
Supporting Lemba youth in Zimbabwe by building a well close to their village so they can spend their time in school rather than walking miles to find water for the tribe’s cattle.
AFTER DONATING, CAN I DO MORE TO HELP AT-RISK YOUTH?
Donating isn’t where this ends. You can continue to support at-risk youth after donating by spreading AWARENESS. Let people know the dire situations millions of youth around the world face, and why it’s SO important that we help them. Get on social media, have conversations, call up a local representative, and inspire action. Again, the health and education of our future generation is what is going to guarantee the future success of this planet and humankind.