Hand Up Teen Leadership

Hand up teen leadership Program

The nationally-recognized Hand Up Teen Leadership Program offers high school students a unique opportunity to learn about social change and see the difference they can make. With the guidance and support of JFS staff, Hand Up teens develop and utilize their leadership skills in a real-world setting by engaging in hunger advocacy and supporting the services provided by the Hand Up Food Pantry, which distributes supplemental food and hygiene items to thousands of people in need across San Diego.

Hand Up Teen Leadership June 2014

“Hand Up Teen Leadership has allowed me to gain
confidence that I can make a difference in my community.
I have made lifelong friends that have truly allowed me to
grow as a person and a leader.”
– Hand Up Teen Leadership Participant

Learn More About...

Program Overview
Program Highlights
Hand Up Student Advisory Board Requirements
Hand Up Clubs
Honors, Awards, and Benefits
Hand Up Teen Leaders in the News

Program Overview

2016-hunger-action-dayHand Up student leaders tackle the issue of hunger by coordinating food drives and fundraisers, managing volunteers at Hand Up food distribution sites and in our food pantry, and engaging in grant writing and advocacy at the State Capitol.

The program runs from September–June, kicking off with an intensive Teen Leadership Retreat and culminating in an End of Year Celebration.

In 2016, all graduating Hand Up seniors were accepted to 4-year colleges and universities, including Michigan, Rutgers, Stanford, UCSB, and UCSD. Read DoSomething.org's College Admission and Community Service Study

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Program Highlights 

During the 2017-18 academic year, Hand Up teen leaders volunteered for more than 1,100 hours, earning the President's Gold Volunteer Service Award. Together, these exceptional youth:

  • Pledge to End HungerCoordinated 21 food drives.
  • Arranged 22 fundraisers.
  • Raised more than $6700 and collected 6200 pounds of food to support Hand Up Food Pantry.
  • Participated in Jewish Family Service Embrace-a-Family program 
  • Participated in Hunger Action Day in Sacramento.
  • Volunteered alongside teens in Good Deeds Day.
  • Organized and hosted Rock Out for Hunger, a fundraiser that brought together 50 teens at Aztec Lanes to raise funds for the Hand Up Food Pantry.  
  • Graduating Seniors will be attending Claremont McKenna College, Northern Arizona, Michigan, Stanford, and UCSD.

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Hand Up Teen Leadership Program Requirements

  • Attend Teen Leadership Retreat in September
  • Attend Hand Up Food Pantry Military Food Distributions in October 2017 and February 2018
  • Attend Hand Up Teen Leadership meetings one Sunday per month between October and May
  • Volunteer at least once at a Hand Up military food distribution during the school year (in addition to group distributions)
  • Volunteer at least once in the Hand Up Food Pantry during the school year
  • Coordinate one food drive –OR– coordinate one fundraiser during the school year to benefit the food pantry
  • Promote Hand Up volunteer opportunities on your high school campus and support Hand Up Club at your school
  • Assist in event planning/promotion of larger events and attend those events (fundraisers, community wide presentations, etc.)
  • Participate in advocacy work to alleviate hunger in San Diego County and attend Hunger Action Day in Sacramento, if interested
  • Attend year-end event in June

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Hand Up Clubs

Hundreds of teens across San Diego support the Hand Up Food Pantry and work to alleviate hunger as members of school-based Hand Up Clubs. Students have the opportunity to engage in meaningful community service activities ranging from coordinating food drives and fundraisers to volunteering at Hand Up military food distributions. Club members receive recognition from JFS for the service hours they complete. Learn More>>

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Honors, Awards, and Benefits

The Hand Up Teen Leadership Program is nationally recognized for innovative teen programming. Our teen leaders receive recognition for their community service, and are eligible for the President's Volunteer Service Award and certificates of recognition from state and federal elected officials.

Student leaders may receive letters of recommendation (per teen’s request) for college and other program applications, as well as volunteer hour confirmation letters and certificates. 

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Hand Up Teen Leaders in the News

Hand Up Teen Leader Ari Krasner Wins Peter Chortek Leadership Award.

Hand Up Teen Leader Judy Bross Featured in UT San Diego>> 

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Stay Connected with JFS

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(858) 637-3020
Send an email>>

(858) 637-3210

(General Information)
(858) 637-3000

Turk Family Center
8804 Balboa Ave.
San Diego, CA 92123

All communication is strictly confidential.

This program is generously supported
by a grant from the

S. Mark Taper Foundation

San Diego Gas & Electric

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