Marc Hersch is a Scarsdale High School senior and co-chair of the teen-led Jewish nonprofit J-Teen Leadership, a community service group dedicated to empowering and inspiring Jewish teens from all backgrounds.
This year, the group is focusing its social action projects on helping people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing.
Marc volunteers hours of his time each month planning and leading meetings and service projects like a Habitat for Humanity build, midnight run, holiday party for mentally ill children and Passover food deliveries to seniors.
Recently, the 17-year-old was excited to learn that J-Teen Leadership was named among the top 50 innovative Jewish organizations in North America by Slingshot, which evaluates and supports Jewish philanthropy organizations and publishes an annual guide. You can download a free PDF copy of the guide at the website.
J-Teen Leadership was selected from hundreds of finalists competing for the prestigious recognition. (The Jewish teen leadership website BBYO has a full list of the 50 organizations and more information about the guide.)
Being included in the 2013-14 Slingshot Guide enables the group to access grants to help it plan projects like an upcoming February trip to Havana, Cuba, where the group will bring supplies to a poor Jewish community and host a Purim carnival there, Marc says.
The group, which is affiliated with the UJA-Federation of New York, was launched eight years ago by teens Amanda Bilski and Aaron Marcus to assist displaced families in the Gulf region after Hurricane Katrina.
Since then, it’s grown to include more than 500 active members in Westchester and parts of Connecticut. Members have initiated and participated in volunteer service projects from Far Rockaway to Haiti to Cuba.
Check out J-Teen Leadership on Twitter and Facebook.
Here’s Marc talking about why he got involved and what upcoming projects he’s looking forward to:
<object id=”flashObj” width=”400″ height=”230″ classid=”clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000″ codebase=”http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,47,0″><param name=”movie” value=”http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&isUI=1″ /><param name=”bgcolor” value=”#FFFFFF” /><param name=”flashVars” value=”@videoPlayer=2820757840001&playerID=957671240001&playerKey=AQ~~,AAAACNCxHpk~,ZomDDi5uoNP_g7MFXLYpq1CLF-y2eEtm&domain=embed&dynamicStreaming=true” /><param name=”base” value=”http://admin.brightcove.com” /><param name=”seamlesstabbing” value=”false” /><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true” /><param name=”swLiveConnect” value=”true” /><param name=”allowScriptAccess” value=”always” /><embed src=”http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&isUI=1″ bgcolor=”#FFFFFF” flashVars=”@videoPlayer=2820757840001&playerID=957671240001&playerKey=AQ~~,AAAACNCxHpk~,ZomDDi5uoNP_g7MFXLYpq1CLF-y2eEtm&domain=embed&dynamicStreaming=true” base=”http://admin.brightcove.com” name=”flashObj” width=”400″ height=”230″ seamlesstabbing=”false” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowFullScreen=”true” allowScriptAccess=”always” swLiveConnect=”true” pluginspage=”http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/index.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash”></embed></object>