Sisters are doin’ it for themselves

0817_OC_5_Feature_Next_GenTHE NEXTGEN DEPARTMENT of Jewish Federation & Family Services (JFFS) is dedicated to building an inclusive and connected community for Jewish young adults ages 21-45, promoting Jewish identity and supporting a flourishing local and global Jewish community through fun and meaningful volunteer, social, educational and philanthropic activities. Over the past five years NextGen leadership identified a drop in young women engagement. This is seen on the NextGen Board level, as a majority of the lay leadership is men. Additionally, NextGen staff and executive leadership struggle to identify new women to consider during succession planning. It was decided that there needed to be an effort to attract young Jewish women to involve themselves with the OC Jewish community. That’s where NextGen Young Women (NGYW) comes into play. This effort focuses on two main goals:  building & strengthening community and promoting empowerment of young women in Orange County.

Participants will have the chance to meet, connect and attend events focused on the two goals of NGYW. The events will range from a panel of speakers empowering women with skills and advice they can take to the workplace or the home, to an interactive event, such as cooking a meal at a women’s shelter that will focus on women bonding through volunteerism. These women will learn about the mission of JFFS and the mission of the organizations we are partnering with in our community.

NGYW had their first kickoff event this past March, and with the help of a sponsor, Klein Financial Advisors, Inc. and Mila Evans, who opened up her beautiful home to NGYW, they were able to host 20 young women (including three first-time NextGen event attendees) for a brunch and clothing swap. Participants brought articles of clothing to be exchanged and then donated to a local non-profit, WISEPlace Women’s Shelter, while learning about ways to get involved and help in the community.

NGYW allows NextGen to identify and engage more young women under the age of 45 so that they develop a relationship with JFFS and its departments, cultivating involvement with the greater Jewish community. Without the NGYW, there is no pipeline between NextGen and Women’s Philanthropy, another incredible department at JFFS whose primary value is Jewish women building a kinship with other Jewish women. This pipeline is necessary in fulfilling one of JFFS’ goals to engage and cultivate people in our community throughout their life cycle.

NGYW received a grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Orange County. With their help, NGYW is now able to host their next event on August 3rd at the Center Club for a breakfast discussion with special guest speaker Teresa A. McQueen, Esq., Certified Business Etiquette Trainer & Founder/Principal Attorney of SAFFIRE LEGAL, PC. This workshop will center on “Building Balanced Relationships,” and participants will learn how to build successful relationships with an easy five-step method utilizing the core principals of consideration, respect, and honesty.

The Young Women’s Initiative is part of NextGen, the young adult department (ages 21-45) of Jewish Federation & Family Services (JFFS). The Young Women’s Initiative brings together Jewish women to build kinship while performing mitzvot and to promote women’s empowerment and leadership.

For more information or to find out how you can get involved, please contact Tanya Schwied at, Tanya@JFFS.org.

 

Tanya Schwied graduated from New York University, studied abroad in Israel, and currently works as the Coordinator of Outreach and Engagement for the NextGen Department at Jewish Federation & Family Services, Orange County. 

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