As many of you will know, JVN has had some wonderful interns. Our newest is Mike, who started a few weeks ago. And in typical JVN fashion we’ve got him right in the thick of it with the launch of the 2011/12 Yoni Jesner Award scheme. The last few weeks have seen us so far visit four of the record seven Jewish Secondary schools taking part. So without further ado, here’s Mike’s report from the launch assembly at Immanuel College.….
“On Monday 10th October, almost bright and very early, myself and Es went to Immanuel College to introduce the students in Years 8 and 9 to the Yoni Jesner Award Scheme (YJA) which gets young people aged 12 to 14 involved in volunteering. They have to complete 20 hours of volunteering over the academic year, at the end of which they receive a certificate from the Chief Rabbi in front of hundreds of people from the community. The Award has been a great success in previous years, and Hasmonean, Immanuel College, Yavneh College, JCoSS and King Solomon are all involved once again for 2012. And this year also sees the return of JFS which is fantastic.
As always, it seems really apt that we restart YJA now, as this is the time of year for starting something anew. Not only has Rosh Hashanah just passed, but so has Simchat Torah. What better time, then, for young people to turn over a new leaf and start volunteering? So this is exactly what we told them!
Es and I gave the assembly in front of about 40 Immanuel students. They were shown a fantastic presentation (made by yours truly) and, despite the early start, we were both full of energy to talk them through it. We emphasised that volunteering would be beneficial not just to the organisations and charities they gave up their time and effort for, but also for the students themselves – it would be great experience, would look great on their CV, and they would feel good knowing that they have made a difference to other people’s lives. And, most importantly, it would provide an excellent platform for them to continue volunteering later in their lives.
The presentation was really well received, especially when a picture of previous participants from Immanuel at Gift doing a Purim play was shown. Some of those students were in the room and talked about the great time they had and how it had been a really fun and worthwhile experience doing YJA. The students seemed really enthusiastic about getting involved and not only was it encouraging to see their enthusiasm, but it was also a great chance, as an intern, to practice my presentation skills. Each of the participants were also given a special YJA volunteering opportunities booklet that I produced with a big variety of opportunities and volunteering ideas - both in charities and also for doing in school, shul and in the community – which was being flicked through as we left the classroom. I hope we see the same sort of eagerness in the rest of the schools when we present to them in the coming weeks!”