Jewish Family Service Selects 35 for 2015 Hand Up Teen Leadership Program
SAN DIEGO (October 21, 2015) — Jewish Family Service of San Diego (JFS) has accepted 35 San Diego high school students into its annual Hand Up Teen Leadership Program. The nationally recognized program helps high school students learn about social change and see the difference they can make in their communities.
Two major focus areas for this year’s participants include the creation of a program to get middle school children interested in fighting against hunger and encourage future participation in Hand Up Teen Leadership, and the launch of a new advocacy conference to teach students about the importance of activism and how to lobby state assembly members on issues surrounding food security and childhood hunger.
The program, which kicked off with an intensive Teen Leadership Retreat on September 20, 2015, runs through June 2016, culminating with an awards ceremony and celebration.
This year’s group of participants—of various backgrounds, faiths, and communities—includes four freshman, 11 sophomores, nine juniors, and 11 seniors from 20 high schools throughout San Diego County, a program record. Schools include Bonita Vista High School, Eastlake High School, Torrey Pines High School, and Westview High School.
Each year, Hand Up student leaders tackle the issue of hunger by coordinating food drives and fundraisers, managing volunteers at Hand Up food distribution sites and in the JFS food pantry, and engaging in hunger advocacy and grant writing. With the guidance of JFS staff, program participants receive leadership development training in a real-world setting by supporting services provided by the Hand Up Youth Food Pantry, which distributes supplemental food and hygiene items to thousands of people in need across San Diego County.
“Many programs can provide volunteer experience, but not many offer the opportunity to learn new leadership skills,” said Daniel Krasner, a senior at University City High School. “The Hand Up Teen Leadership program allows students like me to help people and make a difference, while teaching us how to become leaders in our communities at the same time.”
During the 2014-15 academic year, Hand Up Teen Leaders volunteered for more than 1,500 hours, earning the President's Gold Volunteer Service Award. Together, they coordinated 37 food drives, arranged 11 fundraisers, and raised more than $11,000 to support the Hand Up Youth Food Pantry.
For more information about JFS’s Hand Up Teen Leadership Program, or to get involved, visit www.jfssd.org/handupteen.
About Jewish Family Service