Areyvut, a nonprofit based in Bergenfield, completed the eighth year of its Jewish Teen Philanthropy Program at Yeshivat Noam. The H.O.P.E. (Helping Organizations Provide Essentials) Program engaged 35 Yeshivat Noam seventh-grade students and brought them together to act as the board of their own teen foundation. Participants learned about community needs, philanthropy, consensus building and valuable leadership skills. The H.O.P.E. participants decided to focus their funding efforts on the well-being of patients and their families and after 10 sessions ultimately voted to allocate grants:
- $2,323 to Bikur Cholim of Bergen County for its hospitality program, which allows family members of hospitalized patients in Hackensack Medical Center to stay nearby while a relative is undergoing medical treatment
- $1,177 to Chai Lifeline to support its Big Brother Big Sister program, which provides fun and memorable experiences for children who are dealing with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses
Since Areyvut’s Teen Philanthropy Program began at Yeshivat Noam in 2010, 143 program participants have allocated $14,600 to local and Israel-based agencies.
H.O.P.E. participants often remark on how the program has changed their view of philanthropy and communal involvement. As a result of her participation, Rinat Heller said, “I now want to learn more about things I can do as an individual to help my community and people in need. Chesed is important to me, because it’s important to make a difference in the world, and it’s a great feeling to know you’ve made a difference in someone’s life.”
“Because of H.O.P.E., I am more confident that I can make a difference,” commented Yitzchak Hagler. Hagler’s view was echoed by Zehava Shatzkes, who said, “I am inspired to action because I have the power to help in our community. Helping and giving back to the community gives you an amazing feeling of accomplishment and sensation that you did something amazing that could and will change a person’s life.”
The H.O.P.E. Program at Yeshivat Noam is the only such program based in a day school in the area. It has been highlighted by the Jewish Teen Funders Network.
Daniel Rothner, Areyvut founder and director, thanked Yeshivat Noam Principal Rabbi Chaim Hagler for his leadership and vision at the check presentation. Rothner said, “We value our ongoing partnership with Yeshivat Noam and appreciate their commitment to constantly infusing their curriculum and the school community with the core Jewish values of chesed, tzedakah and tikkun olam.”