JYCA is a deserving organization. I hope you'll contribute in whatever amount you can. My children were still small when I first heard about JYCA and thought what a wonderful opportunity to encourage youth to promote social justice. I have come to learn that JYCA offers so much more.
There is the social justice piece: Both my daughter Talia and son Benji participated in JYCA and highly value their experiences. JYCA provides a consciously safe and supportive environment for teens to engage on timely political issues, gain leadership skills, and get involved in the community. Talia joined during of Occupy, which really peaked her interest at the time. Among her JYCA activities, Talia spoke at an noncriminal immigrant detention protest, organized an yearlong commitment for youth to volunteer at a homeless shelter, served as youth board chair, and campaigned for California’s Proposition 30 millionaire tax initiative. Ben was jazzed about his experience canvassing on to raise the minimum wage in Oakland and other initiatives. He made a speech about self-advocacy at the JYCA gala, and participated on the hiring committee, among other JYCA activities.
For myself - the past four years I have really enjoyed the wonderful opportunity to work on JYCA's multi-generational board of directors with young adult alumni and current JYCA youth, as well as other parents. The youth are so committed and have amazing insights. The alumni are so impressive. Those I have worked with have been so well organized and incredibly productive. They are truly effective leaders. Many have mentioned the importance of their JYCA experience to their lives, some even stating they would not be where they are today were it not for JYCA.
Leadership is woven into the JYCA fabric – with the dedicated guidance of staff, youth are involved in every aspect of JYCA, from leading workshops and youth committees, to speaking at protests, and even serving on the JYCA board of directors and staff hiring committee.
The group operates in accordance with the values it espouses. JYCA is inclusive and empowering, and fosters meaningful connections among JYCA youth and commitment to their collaborative work.
Participants cover a wide swath of the community socially, and in the religious context range from unaffiliated to observant. Most years we also have youth who are not even Jewish.
Here is more from JYCA:
Jewish Youth for Community Action is raising $40,000 by the end of the year. This Crowdrise campaign by passionate staff, Board members and community members has a goal of raising $20,000 of that total from new and long-time supporters, including you! Why are we fundraising? Because we love JYCA and the impact it's had on our lives and so many others. JYCA believes that youth have the power and the passion to create justice in the world right now. JYCA gives them the support and tools to use their voice to impact their community. JYCA believes that social justice is a core of our Jewish values, and central to our Jewish Identity. We create a loving and inclusive community where youth can challenge themselves and each other to face big issues and take action. We provide leadership training programs for high school age youth in community organizing through a lens of Jewish values. Youth participate in workshops on Active Listening, Communication, Adultism, Sexism, Racism, Campaign Development and Facilitation. We have amazing retreats where there is incredible bonding, learning, Shabbat time, nature hikes and beach runs. JYCA youth have an incredible impact on our world, starting projects and campaigns addressing poverty, sexual harassment, juvenile justice, environmental justice, and immigration. JYCA alumni have become leaders in communities across the country as organizers, teachers, working for progressive politicians and environmental justice campaigns and human rights organizations. However, in order to keep program fees affordable, JYCA needs donations. In fact, fundraising accounts for 2/3 of our budget each year. Please give a donation to support this work today. Thank you!