Among the most exciting moments in this process of Redemption is watching the pieces come together. Anyone can do this. (You don't have to be a prophet!) Just by being an observer of the human scene,...current events, talk radio, internet news and daily experiences,--all this can be eye-opening about how the Rebbe's prophecy is being fulfilled.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Helping Teens Make a Difference

In 1991 when CNN asked the Rebbe, "What is your message to the world?," the Rebbe responded, "Moshiach is ready to come now. It is only on our part to add something additional in the realm of goodness and kindness." Since then billionaires encourage each other to give away their money, and websites on acts of kindness abound. In this recent example in the Wall Street Journal, a mother founded a website to help teens make decisions about how to donate their time and money.
A 'Broader Perspective' on Giving

Over the past few years, Jill E. Braufman noticed there was something missing in the process of introducing teenagers to philanthropy and volunteering.
As her two daughters and their friends sought to fulfill the high-school service requirements required in many public and private schools—and sometimes required by religious organizations— she saw that many young people had no information about the nonprofit sector. "I was watching kids tick these requirements off without developing a broader perspective," says Ms. Braufman, adding that very often "requirements or obligations are opportunities."
So, Ms. Braufman, 50 years old and a New Yorker, developed a philanthropy guide and website called Service Giving. The seven-page guide covers the broad business of philanthropy: how much people give, volunteering, finding your passion, how to evaluate a nonprofit, vocabulary of philanthropy and where to look for more information on charities.

There are lots of teens making real impacts on their communities through service projects. Here is an inspiring example.

“My grandparents always taught me that you have to be able to give because you never know when you’ll be in need…”


Hannah, now 16 and a junior at the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester, NY, wanted to do something about which she felt passionate. “Do you know the show, ‘Extreme Couponing?’” she asks. “I was inspired by the show, and realized that I could turn it into a community-service project.”
Hannah seeded the project with $500 she’d earned babysitting, and contacted the Coachman Family Center in White Plains, which provides temporary housing for up to 100 homeless families, and asked if she could work with them. Then, she started coupon-ing like crazy.
Every Sunday, she’d get the circulars from Walgreens, CVS, Target, and the like, and also look for coupons online. She’d type up a list of what she was going to buy, which coupons she’d use, and how much money it would cost. Then, she’d go to the stores and shop.
“When I originally started the project, I would bring a bottle of conditioner and a couple of candy bars. It was nothing big,” Hannah says. “As I had more time in the summer, I was able to devote more time to it. And when school season came around I found these great deals for school supplies. I was able to donate huge masses of stuff.”
As the project grew, Hannah says, she realized that each dollar from her babysitting money could buy $5 worth of stuff for the families at Coachman. She decided to fundraise to make the project bigger, asking for donations from her family, her neighbors and her parents’ friends. “I do it on a much bigger level now,” Hannah says. “I buy like 70 cans of soup at a time, but I’ll get it really cheap. I’ve donated around $10,000 worth of product. I’ve given them food, shampoos, toiletries, games. I was able to give them a PlayStation 3. When I came in September with this stuff, they were blown away.”
Hannah figures she’ll keep the volunteer project going throughout high school, spending down the funds she’s raised, and that she’ll always do some form of community service. “My grandparents always taught me that you have to be able to give because you never know when you’ll be in need, and Schechter instills those values, too,” Hannah says. “That’s ingrained in me. I know that I have to do it. It’s my duty to do it. I will do community service my whole life.”

To visit Service Giving site, please click here:

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