Alternative Winter Break High Expectations

By Sharon Schoenfeld
Ari in NY
Ari (8th from left) as a participant in AWB NY 2015 after Hurricane Sandy

As a two-time alumni of Young Judaea’s Alternative Winter Break program, I have high expectations for the outcome of AWB 2015: Los Angeles. Attending AWB Navajo Nation Arizona in 2011 and AWB New York in 2012 gave me both experiences and friends that I will have for years and years to come. My goal for this trip is to foster an environment where participants will be able to take as much out of the trip as I have; and judging by the trip’s success thus far, we will not come short of that goal.

Our trip is focused on the homelessness issue in Los Angeles. We have been doing a lot of work with PATH (People Assisting the Homeless) so far, who provide supportive services, permanent housing development, support for homeless families, and community engagement services for those in need. We have been cooking meals using fresh ingredients for the residents within PATH.

Being able to watch the participants enjoy the measurable impact they have had on the residents of the locations has been incredibly rewarding for me as a staff member. Residents will constantly go up to participants and mention how happy they are that we are here, and have acknowledged that the work and presence of AWB participants have brightened up their day. It is critical that we tackle the issue of homelessness head-on; visiting some of Los Angeles’ most homeless neighborhoods, and cooking and serving meals for residents in need. It is always nice to head back to base after a long day and see a room full of smiles, and hear about the participant’s unique experiences.

~ Ari Abramson – Temple University, from Westchester, NY

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