This year, Community Action Day was very different than in years past. Community Action Day is a day where teens and parents all come together to help Plummer Youth Promise. Plummer Youth Promise’s group home is located in Salem and is home for teens ages 13-18 who are in foster care. Usually, we would come together to clean out and plant stuff for their garden, make them food or create art projects for the home. Unfortunately, we could not all meet in person due to the current circumstances, so we decided to hold Community Action Day over Zoom.

Everyone took a pause in their lives to help others in need. It was so special to see so many of our friends over Zoom. We made care packages and wrote letters for the teens in Plummer’s OnPoint Program and made cards for the residents at Chelsea Jewish Lifecare in Peabody. The gift baskets contained no-sew handmade masks that we made out of an upcycled T-shirts, a handwritten personalized letter, a Netflix gift card, a blanket, snacks, markers, coloring books and toiletries. There were teen volunteers assigned to each project, and in a short time we managed to all make beautiful cards and care packages.

by teens
(Courtesy photo)

Community Action Day has always been one of our favorite events of the year. It always feels good to give back, but this year it felt extra special. Everybody is going through a rough time right now, so coming together in a supportive environment felt very motivating and inspiring. It gave the participants something to do during quarantine and made them feel good knowing they put a smile on someone else’s face. A little help can go a long way. Giving back feels so good and it makes us feel very thankful for all that we have.

This event allowed us to aid and support those who are less fortunate. Although this is an annual event, it was very different and seemingly more important this year. It was a challenge to come together and help the youth through Plummer Youth Promise, but simply being able to help put a smile on somebody’s face or just making someone’s day a little better is why we worked through these challenges. Our goal was to work together to make a big impact in someone’s life. By supplying things such as masks and care packages, our goal was to make those we were helping feel and be safer and cared for, especially during this pandemic.

Through this difficult time, we have not been able to see each other, so participating in a cause that is so helpful and rewarding was the perfect way to regroup. Even though we were limited to a Zoom call, being able to connect with everybody else was amazing. Just being able to talk with the other participants gave us a sense of connectedness and community that has been so rare during quarantine. It definitely had a positive effect on mental health, as we were there to support each other and we were working together for the same cause.

Sofia Vatnik (Marblehead) and Judy Dicker (Swampscott) are JTI Peer Inclusion Fellows who provide one-on-one support to teens with disabilities at Jewish cultural and social programs. They each volunteered to participate in this year’s JTI Virtual Community Action Day, in partnership with CJP.

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