This month, CTeen empowered teens by having them come up with creative ways to bring the mitzvos of Tishrei to others, create an individual plan for their communities and earn a grant for their activities.
With person to person interactions limited, networking is being reinvented and rethought.
Organizations, businesses, and institutions are all looking for new ways to continue to reach their clientele.
Perhaps more than any other demographic, teen clubs and programming relies on peer to peer interaction. With the high holidays approaching, CTeen headquarters has launched an innovative way to continue reaching more teens, while empowering leadership and responsibility within chapters.
‘’Transform Tishrei’’ is a program that hands the keys to the teens. The planning, networking, and empowerment that goes into a regular CTeen event or program now belongs to the teens themselves.
The goal of Transform Tishrei is to share the beauty of the many mitzvos of the month, with as many teens as possible, in the most impactful way. A virtual brainstorming session with teens around the world took place earlier this month, with the teens coming up with unique and creative ways to bring the mitzvos of Tishrei to teens. They then met with their local Rabbis and Rebbetzins and tailor-made a plan and model for their community.
After creating a unique plan for their respective city, teens then presented their programs to Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, director of Merkos 302, and Rabbi Shimon Rivkin, director of CTeen, and upon approval received a special grant to be used for their activities.
‘’It was mind boggling to experience the tremendous potential this program has first hand.’’ observed Risa Mond, Director of CTeen Leadership Program, ‘’From brainstorming to planning tahalucha routes, the teens really took to the program, and we are really excited to continue to expand it throughout Tishrei.’’
The initiative was born as a result of many small scale attempts to accomplish the same with individual mitzvos. From menorahs to neshek to matzah, the Mitzvah Ambassador program encouraged teens to spread Yiddishkeit to their friends in the way they were most comfortable with. Transform Tishrei was the obvious next step to continue to grow and build momentum in teen engagement and empowerment.
‘Transform Tishrei’ puts the ball in the teens court.’’ explains Rabbi Gedalya Hertz, of CTeen Alpharetta, GA, ‘’It allows them to be creative and choose which mitzvos to focus on, and determine the best way they feel it will be effective in reaching teens.’’
Rabbi Benny Kamahaji, CTeen Machon Chai Toronto, has already seen the transformation: “Transform Tishrei has been an inspiring project to watch unfold. Michael was selected to participate in an international brainstorming session, he then brought the ideas to our leadership board and they came up with an amazing plan for Sukkot this coming year.
Michael worked hard to make a budget and make a presentation for the grant, all the teens were very supportive and I enjoyed watching Michael make his ‘pitch’ to the CTeen head honchos.
The program really empowered Michael and his friends to take the responsibility of caring for other teens, from the spiritual side of things (which activities and what mitzvot will be done) down to the practical stuff (how much will it cost and where will be find the money to do it). Hoping we can transform many more months and many more neshamos as well!’’
Transform Tishrei is a beautiful example of how capable and powerful teens can be. The initiative and ownership shown by the teens has been amazing. The full effect is yet to be seen.