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Monday, November 19, 2018

“By participating in H.O.P.E I learned that you can always make a difference no matter how young you are,” said Emma Goldberg, a seventh grader at Yeshivat Noam and participant of Areyvut’s H.O.P.E Teen Philanthropy Program.

Areyvut, a Bergenfield-based non-profit, is completing their ninth year of H.O.P.E. (Helping Organizations Provide Essentials), a Jewish teen philanthropy program at Yeshivat Noam. The H.O.P.E. participants worked as a board, learned about philanthropy, local communal needs, participated in values-clarification exercises, solicited and reviewed grant proposals and met with representative from local agencies. Jewish teen philanthropy programs like H.O.P.E are so much more than teaching participants about giving. They offer a wonderful way for them to gain leadership skills, work on their team building and come together as one cohesive unit. Rabbi Chaim Hagler, the principal of Yeshivat Noam, agrees and said, “Teaching our students the importance of giving back to their community is a critical part of Yeshiva Noam’s mission and the H.O.P.E. program has brought that to our students in a meaningful, impactful way.”

After much deliberation, the H.O.P.E. participants decided to focus their funding efforts on TEACH (Together Educating All Children In Hospitals). TEACH is a non-profit organization that provides an outlet for children in hospitals and their families to have fun, forget about why they are there and enjoy hands-on science experiments. On Friday, June 15, H.O.P.E. will present Isaac Snyder, the executive director of TEACH, with a grant of $1,500. To extend the learning, the H.O.P.E. participants created murals with upbeat colors and messages of hope to be installed at a local hospital. The mural will enable the impact the H.O.P.E. participants have had to continue way beyond the program.

When reflecting upon their experiences, H.O.P.E participants considered how the program has influenced them to partake more in philanthropy and communal involvement. They emphasized the change of perspective and understanding they gained from participating in H.O.P.E.

“The H.O.P.E program taught me that just a little bit of time and money can make an impact that lasts a lifetime,” reflected Akiva Morris. Avigayil Erlichman, stated, “By participating in H.O.P.E. I learned how much our community cares about each other and all the organizations that are there to help.” “I now plan to be involved in many more chesed opportunities,” commented Kayla Schiff. Elianna Wasserman continued, “The H.O.P.E program taught me that everyone can impact the world in different ways.” Eva Rothschild remarked, “The H.O.P.E program taught me to always want to help others in need.” Eva’s view was echoed by Avigail Warshawksy, who said, “I want to make a difference in my community because I know that what happens in my community is important, so I want to make sure that everyone is cared for, loved and happy.”

Since Areyvut’s Teen Philanthropy Program began at Yeshivat Noam in 2010, 155 program participants have allocated $16,100 to local and Israel-based agencies.

According to Daniel Rothner, Areyvut’s founder and director, a key message of H.O.P.E is that “Donating money is only one way to help others. It is critical for students to learn at a young age the importance of using their time and talents to actively help others.” That is something that H.O.P.E. participants now know and something that Areyvut is prepared to help them with in the future.