“Don’t shoot me, Rabbi!” cried Zack, before cracking a smile…
Over 40 teens from Southern California chapters of the Chabad Teen Network took part in bringing the light of Chanukah to underprivileged teenage girls at Freehab, a rehab center and foster care alternative for young women. The event—part of CTeen’s IMPACT Humanitarian program—offered teens the opportunity to understand and respond to community needs firsthand.
Freehab offers services to young women and girls, many of whom have fallen out of the foster care system, resorting to drugs or crime as ways of surviving the streets. The facility provides an alternative to life on the streets, and many times, prison.
“The girls are used to religious organizations coming through to speak and give counsel to a select few. I think they were surprised that we came to hang out with all of them, not just the two Jewish girls who were present,” shared Sarah Sarfati, President of Mission Viejo’s chapter.
The event, now in its fourth year, shined a light on a worthy cause that many teens were otherwise unfamiliar with. Teens provided holiday gifts such as clothing and jewelry, as well as the festive holiday spirit with games of dreidel and fresh jelly doughnuts.
Though majority of the women who live at Freehab’s facilities are not Jewish, they were eager to learn and understand more about Judaism, connecting Jewish values to the ones they learn at the center.
“Visiting them completely changed my perspective on the foster care system, and what it means to give back to the community, “shared Talia Lewis, Vice President of CTeen Conejo Valley. “The girls we met with are these girls are my age. It was extremely humbling.”
The event culminated with a grand game of spin the dreidel, followed by a tour of the facility. The energy and enthusiasm of each teen—CTeeners and Freehab participants alike—was palpable.
The Chabad Teen Network is the fastest growing Jewish youth group in the world. The global program caters to teens ages 15 to 18 of all affiliations, providing leadership training, educational programs, and humanitarian initiatives to over 5,000 teens worldwide.
CTeen’s visit to Freehab is just one of the hundreds of humanitarian projects chapters partake in yearly . Local chapters participate in hospital and senior center visits, clothing and food drives for IDF soldiers, and events for children with special needs.
sounds like hyperbole. Segue?
through the IMPACT program?
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