Forty Young Judaea students participated in the first annual YJ Alternative Winter Break (AWB) in Los Angeles. The program was run in conjunction with Jewish Funds for Justice (JFSJ), an organization that specializes in service learning. AWB took participants out of their everyday surroundings and engaged them in intensive community service and experiential learning, through hands-on service projects, that were both enriching and transformative.
AWB integrated an ongoing educational component into the program; participants explored their Jewish identity and left with a deeper commitment to service that will hopefully springboard into lifelong active citizenship where the tenets of community and tikun olam (repairing the world) will become a part of their everyday lives.
AWB’s community service opportunities focused on Urban Revitalization and Environmental Awareness & Restoration. Participants worked directly with three local organizations – LA Family Housing, LA Neighborhood Services, and LA Eco-Village – and spent five to seven hours a day on specific projects.
Our kids enjoyed their time at all of the work sites. They were involved in planning parties and interacting with the kids and teens at LA Family Housing, reaching out to the neighborhood residents about disaster preparedness, and learning and working with the environment. Each opportunity provided our kids with a unique set of rewards.