On November 12th and 13th, Avi Pretekin, with the help of more than 30 volunteers and The Night Ministry, packaged and distributed 200 meals to Chicago families in need. This project came about as a result of his participation in the Diller Teen Fellows program and a desire to give back the community. Throughout the Diller program, Avi and his cohort have been developing leadership skills and increasing their understanding of what it means to make a difference in their community.
It is obvious how this project impacted the recipients of the meals- people who don’t always know where their next meal is coming from were given a meal, a card, and a friendly smile. Less obvious, but equally important, is the impact on the family and friends of Avi, the Diller Teen Fellows, and the families, including many young children, from the Skokie Valley Agudath Jacob congregation who showed up on a cold and rainy day to volunteer. As we made sandwiches, packed meals and wrote cards together, it was clear that this project was meaningful to everyone. Parents were having conversations with their children about the values of tzedakah, dignity, and empathy. The community bonded over a shared purpose. And everyone walked away feeling as though they made a difference in someone’s life.
“Working with The Night Ministry, and creating this project through Diller Teen Fellows was extremely gratifying,” Avi said. “As I watched the project come together, I felt like all the hard work to organize the project was worth it, and I could really see the impact in my community.”
This project is just one example of the great leadership and sense of obligation that is formed in Diller Teen Fellows. Diller Teen Fellows is a fellowship experience for 10th and 11th grade students who seek to develop leadership skills, explore their Jewish identities, travel to Israel, build lifelong friendships, and create amazing memories. To learn more about the program, visit our website.