AJSS Volunteers Spend Summer Here

by Niki King
Community PR Specialist
A group of teens from all over the country have recently traded in prime summer loafing time for several weeks of service work in Louisville.

The teens, from the American Jewish Society for Service, go to a different location and project every day, working with organizations like YouthBuild Louisville and the Franciscan Kitchen on South Preston Street. They will be here through the end of the July.

“The purpose of the program is to take Jewish teens and send them out into communities across the country and be able to perform voluntary acts of service,” Mara Herling, Project Director, told a reporter from WDRB.
AJSS has been sending teens to Louisville every summer since 2011. Since then, they’ve worked to rehabilitate Smoketown, tutor at-risk youth working to earn their GED, and help WaterStep and Youthbuild.

AJSS chose Louisville because of a relationship with Matt Goldberg, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council. Goldberg and his wife were once project managers for AJSS, which is based out of Bethesda, MD, and he’s maintained contact ever since.

Goldberg told the executive director, “If you ever want to come to Louisville, let me know.” The group took him up on the offer. They have stayed at Keneseth Israel the last few years, using the JCC facilities to bathe.
“This summer I was really interested in trying something new,” Ariella Levisohn, a high school senior, told WDRB.
Levisohn said it’s been hard work but she has no regrets about spending her summer break serving and helping strangers hundreds of miles from home.

“It feels really great to give back to the community and especially just to be doing something with my summer instead of lying around hanging out with friends and watching TV,” she said.

If you’d like to learn more about the teens activities while in Louisville, you can visit the AJSS website where they keep a detailed, day-by-day online journal.

“It really is a great organization,” Goldberg said.

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