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Teen Adventures

Orange County BBYO chapters, Irvine AZA, Chaverot Sabbaba BBG, Orange Coast AZA, and L’Chaim BBG hosted a fundraiser for the Orange County Jewish Federation & Family Services on October 16.  The event, titled “Sukkot-A-Thon” brought over 25 teens to Temple Bat Yahm in Newport Beach.  The teens worked together to construct and decorate a sukkah that remained on display at Temple Bat Yahm for the duration of Sukkot.
The event was free of charge for participants, although donations for the Orange County JFFS were requested.  Each chapter that participated will also be making a donation to JFFS.  The sukkah kits and materials, as well as all food and refreshments, were provided by a generous donation to BBYO from a philanthropist in the community.
“We showed that teens can come together and hold a meaningful event while also displaying teamwork and having a fun social component,” said Trevor Cohen, Irvine AZA’s vice president of philanthropy, who attended the event.
Orange County BBYO provides teens with leadership, community service, Judaic and social programming opportunities.  Orange County BBYO chapters would like to thank Temple Bat Yahm for providing its beautiful campus for the Sukkot-a-Thon event.
In other BBYO news, the Jim Joseph Foundation of San Francisco announced that it will grant $1.9 million over three years to fund three new Jewish enrichment positions for BBYO, which currently reaches more than 31,000 teens annually.  BBYO, Inc., the largest pluralistic Jewish teen movement, recently launched a new strategic plan.  The partnership with the foundation will enable BBYO to deepen the Jewish experiential learning offered to its teen-led community and prepare Jewish teens for a lifetime of Jewish involvement.
“Research has proven that Israel trips, summer specialty camps and youth groups have a powerful impact on teens, and BBYO is a leader in all three of these areas,” said Al Levitt, chair of the Jim Joseph Foundation board of directors.
Operating as an independent organization for the past ten years, BBYO has grown to become the Jewish community’s largest year-round platform for reaching Jewish teens in North America.  This success has fueled the launch of a new five year strategic plan with a key focus on strengthening the Judaic experiences being delivered to the teen audience by creating positions for directors of Jewish enrichment.  The new professionals will be dispersed in key geographic hubs and will be networked together as a dynamic team of educational entrepreneurs.  They will be given the opportunity to work with teen leaders, volunteer adult advisors and program professionals to impact programming from local and regional events to international travel programs.
“This is an exciting moment for BBYO’s teen leaders,” said Oz Fishman, teen president of AZA (BBYO’s leadership program for males).  “We have more resources than ever before to engage our peers through the kind of programming that opens their minds to the meaning that can be found in a life enriched by our Jewish teachings and traditions.”

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