They look the same – a group of 67 teens laughing, running, jumping, dancing, and even a bit of flirting. But they don’t always sound the same. Fluent Hebrew and Spanish are sprinkled amongst the English jokes and stories.
This summer, the Merage JCC hosted 67 teens – 21 from Orange County – and another 47 from Kfar Yona, Israel and Mexico City, Mexico to a week of So Cal fun. The charge was to have fun and make connections amongst global peers. The goal: the future of the Jewish Peoplehood. Outings for all 67 included the Hollywood sign, dance presentations, beach parties and Disneyland. Real meaning was found in the teens’ community service efforts shared with seniors at Heritage Pointe.
You’d expect the teens’ volunteer efforts to support the seniors, but in fact, they were at Heritage Pointe to volunteer with the seniors. Together, the teens and seniors made art boxes for Discovery Arts, which sends the art supplies – stickers, pens, paper, glitter, and more – to children in hospitals to add a bit of brightness to their days. Another group of teens and seniors made challah covers and cards for Shabbat boxes for Simcha Shabbat, an organization that takes goodies for Shabbat to Jewish people that are in the hospital
Making wind chimes for families at Ronald McDonald House was on the packed social action agenda as well. The full day of social action included making warm blankets for the Jess Rees Foundation’s Joy Jars which are also shared with children in hospitals.
The teens learned that the Jewish values of Tikkun Olam transcend nationality and age. They created meaningful memories with the new senior friends that they made at Heritage Pointe.