Para Los Ninos

BJE Teen Service Corps Supports Para Los Niños

On December 3, a group of LA-area teens spent a morning with BJE’s Teen Service Corps, doing community service and social justice work with Para Los Niños, a nonprofit that serves LA’s neediest children and families. In preparation for the annual Felices Fiesta Celebration for families in need, the teens sorted 1,143 pieces of clothing to prepare for families to be able to “shop” during Para Los Niños’ annual holiday event. The families served through this annual festival receive services from Para Los Niños through their Youth Workforce Services, Domestic Violence Support Service team, Family Preservation team, Partnerships for Families team, and the Prevention & Aftercare team. 

After helping sort thousands of items to help Para Los Niños prepare for a successful distribution to recipients, the teens spent time discussing the experience, and how this work is guided by Jewish values. The group discussed an 18th century quote from Rabbi Shlomo of Karlin: “If you want to raise a person from mud and filth do not think it is enough to keep standing on top and reaching a helping hand down to the person. You must go all the way down yourself into the mud and filth. Then take hold of the person with strong hands and pull the person and yourself out into the light.”

The concept resonated with one participant, Ayla, who said, “Helping someone is meaningful, but not as much if you’re not doing the work.” And Evan, a parent who attended, added, “Everyone needs help at certain points in their life. This event was just what we were hoping for – being helpful in a meaningful, tangible way.”
The program was open to teens aged 11 and up and their families. BJE Impact Teen Service Corps engages teens in direct community service and service learning. They volunteer at different organizations addressing issues such as hunger, homelessness, poverty, environmental issues, and more. Volunteer work is followed by reflection activities led by Teen Service Corps educators. All of BJE’s experiential learning aims to inspire Jewish youth to “Learn. Act. Reflect. IMPACT.”

For more information about BJE Teen Service Corps or to learn about future opportunities, contact Lily Khalili, Program Director for BJE Teen Experiential Education.