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#RepairTheWorldWednesday with Noah Lichstein and Voices

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When I signed up for Voices at the end of the summer of 2018, I didn’t know what I was signing up for. I had heard so many great things about Voices from friends who had been part of the program in the past, but I had no first-hand experience with the program itself nor any program like it. All I knew was throughout high school, I had been wanting to be involved with something Jewish, but I had yet to find what I really wanted to do; until I started Voices. 

Voices encourages and provokes lots of thought and reflection on personal values. Early into Voices, I identified that Tzedek is something very valuable to me. Not only did Voices help me identify this, Voices gave me opportunity after opportunity to take action on it, and to help others take action as well. Not only did Voices help me identify and stick to my values, working with others and collectively contributing to something greater and bigger than ourselves was even more rewarding. 

This past year, the Alumni board, which I sat on, had around 12 board members, including myself. As we received grant proposals, the Covid-19 pandemic also began affecting the US and our in-person meetings came to a halt and at the same time, many of the organizations’ needs shifted so they could support their members through the pandemic. As a board, we quickly shifted our outlook and our funding priorities, and we were able to help organizations navigate through the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only were these organizations that were either affected or helped those affected by Covid-19, each board member, including myself had a say in what issues we wanted to support. One committee I sat on was the disabilities committee, which looked into organizations that provided help and services to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Services like these became very important as Covid-19 closed schools and other support systems previously providing assistance to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Because of this, I know that the Voices Alumni Board contributed to a meaningful cause, and was impactful, in a time of need. 

I am so grateful I was able to make Voices a meaningful part of my junior and senior years of high school. As I transition into college and beyond, my values are clear to me and Voices had a large part in helping me identify and uphold those. Voices has also taught me how to contribute to something greater than myself and because of my experience in Voices that is something I will always strive for.

Noah Lichstein

Noah Lichstein is currently a freshman in the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. During his junior and senior years of high school, he sat on the board of Voices: The Chicago Jewish Teen Foundation. Outside of Voices, Noah enjoys taking photos, traveling, cycling, and playing squash.