Home Depot’s Co-Founder Creates New Opportunity for Teens

Co-founder of Home Depot, Bernie Marcus, has created a game-changing opportunity for North American Jewish public school teens, providing $3,000 vouchers to enable them to experience Israel (and Poland) with CTeen summer programs.

A trip to Poland and Israel is a game changer for a Jewish teenager’s connection to Yiddishkeit.

The teen has a chance to see, touch and experience the history of his people, and to connect with her heritage in a uniquely personal way.

While experiencing Israel and its heritage as an adult can be powerful, it cannot compare to the transformative effects of experiencing it as a teen. “At CTeen we know the fierce potential inherent in the teenage demographic.” says Rabbi Nachman Rivkin, director of Summer programs. The powerfully meaningful connection that can be forged with one’s roots as a result of experiencing Israel as a spirited, impressionable and pliable teen is a total game changer and cannot be rivaled by the impact of a Birthright or any other trip that one may take later in life.” 

However, for many teens, an all inclusive trip was never an option due to the $5,500 price tag that even the most basic of trips comes along with. Airfare is expensive, and a full land package with transportation, activities, lodging and meals add up as well. 

That is, until now. 

So what changed?

Bernie Marcus, the co-founder of Home Depot believes deeply in the value and far-reaching impact of having Jewish teens experience their homeland. That’s why he created a $60 million fund for teens wanting to travel to Israel. The initiative is called “RootOne” and is run by the Jewish Education Project. Recently, after much hard work and negotiation, CTeen has been qualified and approved by RootOne to provide $3,000 vouchers to any public school teen wanting to participate in the three week Heritage Quest or Israel journey trips for summer 2022.

This voucher makes the life changing trip a more affordable option for interested teens and has enabled many teens to participate who would have otherwise not been able to attend. 

There’s more. RootOne knows that following the trip there needs to be continued jewish involvement in order to maximize the impact of the experience and prevent it from becoming but a fond memory. That’s why the foundation also aims to support programs and opportunities that can channel the inspiration of the trip in the months following the teen’s return. 

“This is big news for CTeen and its members,” explains Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky Executive Director of Merkos 302 and Vice chairman of CTeen, “CTeen chapters are well equipped to provide post-trip engagement to teens upon their return. Shluchim will be able to get funding for programs such as CTeenU – college credited Torah courses, CTeen Shabbos meals, regional CTeen events and Shabbatons aimed at keeping teens involved and inspired upon their return from Israel.” 

“This really is very exciting” concurs Rabbi Motti Flikshtein of CTeen Delaware “It is always unfortunate when financial considerations become an obstacle for involvement in a meaningful Jewish experience. This funding will be a real game-changer as it opens up opportunities for a far wider population to benefit from the CTeen Heritage Quest and Israel Journeys.”

To learn more or to sign up a teen for CTeen Heritage Quest or Israel Journey visit CTeensummer.com

To learn more about the RootOne Voucher and eligibility click here

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