Service Opportunities & Events
Make an Impact with YouthFirst
Connect with teens from around the Bay Area as we address a range of challenges/issues facing our communities. Through advocacy projects and service-learning events, you can help make a difference through your actions and voice!
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Upcoming Service Projects
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Buzzing with the Bees!
Monday, January 16, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, Palo Alto
Join Impact Year teens at the Oshman Family JCC’s Mitzvah Day for a community-wide day of Tikkun Olam (repair of the world) as part of a national day of service to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Learn about our environment while making fun and easy projects that help the birds and the bees! Participants will make wildflower seed bombs, and bee feeders to help mother nature and some of her littlest helpers thrive. Register here. Questions? [email protected].
Climate Change and Anxiety: A Conversation with Dr. Lise Van Susteren
Thursday, January 26, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Dr. Lise Van Susteren is a psychiatrist and expert on the physical and mental health effects of climate disruption, and was the expert witness on the psychological damages to young people from inaction on climate in Juliana v US Government. Passionate about the emotional toll of the climate crisis, toxic contaminants, environmental degradation, and declining biodiversity, she speaks, writes, and organizes around the importance of living in harmony with the natural world and how it can restore our mental health. She’d love to meet you and hear your questions and concerns about climate change! Sign up here. Questions? [email protected]
Grasslands Restoration with Marin County Parks
Saturday, January 28, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Ring Mountain Preserve, Tiburon
Embody the Jewish value of Shmirat Ha’adamah and take care of the earth in partnership with Marin County Parks! YouthFirst teens will join this monthly drop-in workday to help restore native grasslands in our region. Learn about the plants and animals that inhabit this unique place and the importance of volunteers in maintaining this ecosystem. Come do a mitzvah and make new friends! Register here. Questions? [email protected].
Warming People in Need: No-Sew Blankets
Sunday, Jan. 15, 1:00 – 3:00 pm
JFCS, 2001 Winward Way, San Mateo
Wintertime means cold weather in the Bay Area and what better way to help people in need feel snuggly and safe than by making them a no-sew blanket? Join us as we put the Jewish value of Shmirat Haguf (Guarding the Body) into practice as we strive to care for the health and wellbeing of our community members. Register here. Questions? [email protected].
San Francisco Earth Protectors: Spreading Beauty Across the City
Sunday, Feb. 5, 12:45 – 2:30 pm
Sherith Israel, 2266 California St, San Francisco
Inspired by Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year of the Trees, join teens from all over San Francisco for an afternoon of Shmirat Ha’adamah, the Jewish value that invokes us to “Take Care of the Earth.” Learn how to transform used paper into wildflower seed bombs and make your impact as an earth protector by bringing beautiful touches of nature into the streets of the city. We’ll also enjoy some delicious earth-friendly treats! Register here. Questions? [email protected].
Ongoing Volunteer Opportunities
Bring a Holocaust Survivor to Speak at Your School
Through firsthand accounts of the Holocaust, help students in your school learn about the importance of tolerance, embracing diversity, and combating hatred. Holocaust survivors as well as their descendants have a variety of experiences to share. Please take a few minutes to tell us a bit about you/your school here and to learn about what’s involved to bring this vital experiential learning opportunity to teens in your community. Questions? Ask Deborah Schneider at [email protected].
Child Care Crew with Jewish Baby Network
Do you love working with kids? Join our Child Care Crew in partnership with the Jewish Baby Network (JBN). JBN hosts regular gatherings in local parks, synagogues and schools that bring together Jewish families for fun learning and community building. Volunteers will play, with and take care of children to give parents time to connect with one another. Sign up to become a Child Club Crew member here! Questions? Ask Merav Berger at [email protected].
Conversation Partners—help a Ukranian refugee improve their English
Connect with Ukranian youth who recently relocated to the Bay Area! JFCS has helped many Ukranian families transition to safety in the Bay. If you’d like to help a teen practice speaking in English, reach out to Merav Berger at [email protected] and she’ll set you up with your conversation partner!
Letter Writing to Homebound Seniors
Everyone loves to get handwritten notes, especially seniors! Help make an isolated senior’s day by writing a card, sending a joke, or drawing a picture, and let them know you are thinking about them. If you would like to write personal notes to ten seniors in our community, please contact Margolit Sands at [email protected] for a list of names and instructions on where to send them.
Volunteer with JFCS Food Banks
Our community faces an unprecedented need for food donations and deliveries. Our Food Banks have a variety of needs, including packing and delivering food bags to clients, receiving food donations, and assembling holiday-themed bags. Reach out to Margolit Sands at [email protected] to find out how you can help in your local JFCS office.
YouthFirst Advocacy Projects
We know youth want to learn about and take action on issues that are impacting them in their communities and lives. As a YouthFirst community, we are currently participating in the following advocacy efforts:
Did you know that some retirement funds are used to invest in industries that use fossil fuels? This petition urges managers of government employee and teacher retirement funds to invest that money in industries that do not involve fossil fuels. This is one example of putting the huge leverage of pension funds to good use. Sign this petition if you believe these retirement funds should be invested in other stocks or bonds that aren’t fossil fuels. Click the link here to add your voice to this important cause.
No More Factory Farms
Much of what we eat comes from factory farming, which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and to the suffering of factory farm animals. This is an open letter to Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature to pause all future factory farm construction and to reevaluate what constitutes animal cruelty in California. Sign this petition if you believe we should stop factory farming in California and come up with a more humane and ecofriendly way to source our meat.
Protect our Planet
Recently, a group of 21 young adults filed a climate related lawsuit against the United States government, claiming that some government policies knowingly cause and worsen the climate crisis, which violates their generation’s constitutional right to freedom and protection under the law. Sign this petition to urge Attorney General Marrick Garland not to further delay the proceedings and give these young adults their day in court.
Director: Linda Karlin; 415-359-2463
San Francisco: Inbal Shalev; 415-449-1291
North Peninsula: Merav Berger; 650-931-1834
South Peninsula: Deborah Schneider; 650-688-3059
Marin County: Margolit Sands; 415-419-3641