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On Friday, August 1, the BJE Teen Service Corps had a joint workshop with the Williams Institute and JQ International, to learn about issues impacting the LGBTQ community, and receive training on how to use personal narrative to advocate and activate others on causes you care about. This was the capstone of our week of service–after engaging in various direct and indirect service projects, we were introduced to the idea of advocacy, and of using your voice as a way to make a difference. It was an incredibly moving and inspiring day, which some of our campers reflected on:

“They [Williams Institute and JQ International] a very meaningful program about LGBT(Q) community. It is so important to be aware of all of the discrimination and hate that is happening every day. Learning that people get killed or struggle because of their sexual orientation or gender is heartbreaking. It makes me ashamed of our community. We need to end hate, and make everyone aware of what is going on BJE and the Williams Institute has really helped me realize that. I will never again stand idly by.” –Noa G., BJE Teen Service Corps Camper, age 14

“I was extremely impacted by our final project. We traveled to UCLA Law School, home of the Williams Institute–an institute dedicated to research regarding the LGBTQ community. We learned about how the researchers create research projects about LGBTQ in order to help LGBTQ community members, as well as try to expand acceptance of LGBTQ worldwide. After this extremely informative presentation, we heard from representatives of JQ International, an organization that works to support Jewish members of the LGBTQ community. We heard very impactful stories and were able to create our own narratives to reflect on our lives. This afternoon was extremely impactful. I feel much more informed about the LGBTQ community and feel empowered to advocate for acceptance. I feel nothing but admiration for these organizations, and I hope I have the opportunity to make an impact on someone else and expand their minds to new possibilities.” –Henry Platt, BJE Teen Service Corps Counselor-In-Training, age 15