[by Elana Wagner]
On April 28, Jewish teens around the world participated in J-Serve, the Official Day of Jewish Youth Service. Teens from different youth groups like BBYO and NFTY worked together to create a fun day of community service for Jewish teens to participate in.
Although J-Serve is an international event, each community decides on their own how they would like to help out. In Louisville, using the Jewish values of G’milut Chasadim: Acts of Loving Kindness, Hachnasat Orchim: Hospitality or Welcoming Guests, and Vehavta L’reacha Camocha: Love your Neighbor as Yourself, we decided to host a carnival for disadvantaged children, which was advertised through the Home of the Innocents, Brooklawn Child and Family Services, Ronald McDonald House, Gilda’s Club, Volunteers of America, Metro Louisville Youth Services, Jewish Family and Career Services, and Jefferson County Public Schools Equity and Poverty Programs.
A committee of both teenagers and adults planned the carnival together. It was held at the JCC and had activities run by volunteers, like a cakewalk, fortune telling and face painting.
The meaning of this day was to show that not only can volunteering help others, it can be fun, too, and that everyone can enjoy it. It was a great experience and everyone who attended had a great time.
This year’s J-Serve Project was coordinated by Elana Wagner and Daniela Reuter with assistance from Barb Schwartz, JCL High School Committee Chair.