Koret Fellows Reflect on a Meaningful Year
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Over the last year, JFCS’ Koret Fellows empowered Bay Area teens to bring about change while supporting communities in need. Thanks to their efforts, local youth learned about issues affecting seniors, children, families, and our society as a whole and applied what they learned to design and implement a wide variety of impactful service projects.

As their fellowships draw to a close, we are celebrating the contributions of these talented emerging leaders, whose creativity, skills, and dedication inspired youth and helped our community.

Meet the 2021 – 2022 JFCS Koret Fellows

Carla NaylorCarla Naylor

What does it mean to you to be a Koret Fellow?

I know I want to work within the Jewish community and help other people, and I can do that as a Koret Fellow. Being a Koret Fellow allows me to expand my network in multiple different directions. I have a fulfilling job working with teens, while I also explore a professional development series and work with other JFCS departments.

Tell us about your favorite part of the experience.

Can I say my coworkers? Honestly, I look forward to full team days because I always have so much fun with them! Collaborating with my coworkers on programming and events has given me so many ideas I would have never thought of on my own and hearing about their own projects makes me excited to work. It really feels like we all support each other and truly want the best for each other. I will be very sad not to work with them after this fellowship.

How do you want to help our community? 

I want to help my community by pushing for difficult conversation and advocating for people that often go unheard. Too often people stay within their comfort zone and thus stay in an information echo chamber, but that doesn’t create a well-rounded and welcoming community. Being too comfortable and sticking with the status-quo isn’t something I want in my community; I want my community to be innovative and fighting for equality.

Luis PortilloLuis Portillo

What does it mean to you to be a Koret Fellow?

For me, being a Koret Fellow means empowering Bay Area youth to enact meaningful change in their own communities through Jewish service-learning.

Tell us your favorite part of the experience.

My favorite part of the experience has been seeing how happy and proud, teens that created and led events are at the end. I think it is extremely beautiful to see the sense of achievement they feel after leading an event. The best is when a teen is cautious about leading but afterwards, they achieve the potential you saw in them.

How do you want to help our community?

I want to help our community by creating safe Jewish places for our local youth to grow and develop. As a Jew of color and from a home with one Jewish parent, I know how intimidating Jewish spaces can be to those who may come from a similar background as me. Fostering an environment where anyone who wants to participate in Jewish spaces can feel welcome and not worry if they are “Jewish” enough is important to me.

Richie R.Richie R.

What does it mean to you to be a Koret Fellow?

To be a Koret Fellow means to be flexible. I have been lucky to have been given a wide array of assignments from various divisions of JFCS. This exposure to different tasks and superiors has taught me to adjust how I work professionally to fit the needs of any assignment and turn out quality work. These assignments have helped me “flex muscles” (as Natan, Assistant Director of Youth Development at JFCS’ Center for Children and Youth, would say) and develop skills in a forgiving and learning environment, all of which will be invaluable in my professional career.

Tell us your favorite part of the experience.

My favorite part of the Koret experience has been the opportunity to work with and get to know some excellent people. My fellow Fellows are very warm, accepting, intelligent, and fun individuals to work with as well as get to know personally. I came to this position to learn and to reconnect with people socially after the pandemic, and I could not have asked for a better group of people to do that with.

I also am very grateful to be a part of the work that JFCS does. Being part of an organization that strives to make life better for all people, including people outside of who JFCS directly serves (through policy advocacy and a wide range of external programs and outreach), is a beautiful thing to be a part of.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I am also grateful for the ability to explore various departments with JFCS and be exposed to a wide variety of helping professionals. These connections and lessons will be invaluable as I attempt to figure out what comes next for me.

How do you want to help our community?

While my time as a Koret Fellow is coming to an end, I hope that I was able to help create and run smooth programing that participants were able to get a lot out of. I hope that I have been able to generate useful information and ideas for my superiors, add to the existing programing in positive ways, and help to shape new programs in ways that will provide the most value to our participants. I want to help ensure that everyone in the Bay Area thinks of JFCS fondly and knows that if they are ever in a place of need (from social connections to personal crises of any kind), JFCS will be there to help along with its army of engaged and compassionate members and volunteers to lend a hand. I hope that my time here has helped on that mission.

Sarah KlugerSarah Kluger

What does it mean to you to be a Koret Fellow?

As a Koret Fellow, I support teens in creating positive and impactful change in their communities.

Tell us about your favorite part of the experience.

My favorite part of this experience has been working with other people in the Koret Fellowship with a passion to help support youth in the community.

How do you want to help our community? 

I help the community by empowering teens to see the change they can make in their communities.

Apply now for the 2022 – 2023 Koret Fellowship for College Graduates!

Applications are being accepted through May 31 for the 2022 – 2023 Koret Fellowship. This one-year, paid internship provides recent college graduates with hands-on training and experience in the areas of engagement, social action, and community building. Each day, Fellows are charged with empowering teens to work together to support communities in need, guided by Jewish values, texts, and tradition.

Learn more about the Koret Fellowship and apply here >

 


Posted by Admin on May 11, 2022