YOZMA Heart Action Grandparents' Day

Not only do I feel it is my obligation as a Jew to serve others in need, but I feel that it is my obligation as a human being to open my heart to others. My passion for service learning began at a very young age and I became involved at  Milken Community High School where I was part of the Yozma program. Yozma in Hebrew means “initiative” and through this leadership- based curriculum and lenses of Torah, I worked with members of my group to create visions into reality. This student-driven program has compelled me to overcome challenges and to create a group project rather than an individual task. For instance, I was the co-chair of the Heart Action group that focused on respecting the elderly. I was told that having a Grandparents’ Day for the Yozma students was a good idea that would be hard to accomplish. That was just a challenge my group and I were willing to accept. It was a difficult task to get the whole group to work together, when it felt more manageable for my co-chair and me to do it all by ourselves. Although it was in fact difficult to plan the day with my fellow group members, the Grandparents’ Day did happen and it was a success. I think that with social action comes responsibility, which creates a deeper connection with our community.

The experience of social action and volunteering as a teenager has allowed me to view the world as a place that can be repaired with a dream, motivation, and a plan. I would not be the person I am today if it wasn’t for the experiences I have had under social action. Whether it be the thrill that comes from putting a smile on an elders’ face, to teaching ballet to children with special needs, or feeding the hungry, these all acts that make the world a better place. Therefore, one act of kindness can change a person’s life.

It is important for me to be part of building BJE Impact: The Center for Jewish Service Learning because I want other teens to experience the value of community service. I want them to feel and experience what else is out there. The BJE Impact website is not only a tool for teens to use to get connected with different service learning opportunities, but it leads teens to learn more about themselves by helping others. I am so thankful to be part of BJE Impact because I am able to continue my passion for service learning.

Learn. Act. Reflect. IMPACT.

–Negeen Amirieh
Intern, BJE Impact