This summer marks the completion of the fourth year of Teen JUST-US, a hands-on social justice internship and educational program for Jewish teenagers in the Greater Boston area!
Throughout the six-week program, our cohort has been immersed in the world of social justice. The participants have spent this program interning with ten different not-for-profit organizations including Boston CASA, Community Action Works, Community Art Center, Cradles to Crayons, Discovering Justice, Doc Wayne, Enroot, Fairplay, International Institute of New England, Margaret Fuller House, and Sitters for Scholars.
At internship sites, our teens not only focused on connecting with staff and gaining work experience; each also took on a project to directly benefit the organization with which they were paired. Their projects spanned from organizing fundraisers, to creating social media campaigns, to advocating on Capitol Hill, and beyond!
The cohort members participated in community service-based field trips and studied social justice topics from a Jewish lens. The program focused on six core subjects: disability justice, housing justice, racial justice, immigration rights, food justice, and environmental justice. At Teen JUST-US, we make it our mission to broach these topics head-on and allow for meaningful opportunities to learn.
This year, achieving that mission included:
- A trip to Community Rowing Inc. to learn how they retrofit boats for the disabled and encourage “rowing for all” and a fun team-building learn to row lesson
- A trip to The Carroll Center for the Blind to spend time with students and experience how fencing can benefit them
- Volunteering to help benefit Food Link‘s efforts to rescue and redistribute food that would otherwise go to waste
- Building beds for homeless children with the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless‘s A Bed For Every Child program
- Pulling invasive weeds in the Charles River with the Charles River Watershed Association
- Attending a curated tour with Dell M. Hamilton of the exhibit: “Call and Response: A Narrative of Reverence to Our Foremothers in Gynecology” at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University
- Hearing from many guest speakers who generously shared their time and stories about being unhoused or coming to America as immigrants
- Learning about combatting antisemitism, and how to be a trans ally
- And much, much more!
Throughout the program, our teens have gained communication and advocacy skills and have developed a broader sense of social awareness and responsibility. The past six weeks have been a chance to connect one cohort of teens sharing a mutual interest in tikkun olam—repairing the world—with a network of opportunities to give back to their local communities. We are excited about what they have learned, the impact they have had this summer, and are thrilled to see where this leads them in the future!
Visit our website to learn more about the program and hear from our teens themselves.
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