Tikkun Olam 9th Grade By Nicole Trotta
Over the past few months, the 9th grade class has been working with the Tikkun Olam Committee on planning and organizing a dinner for unsheltered families and individuals participating in the Safe Parking Program. The Safe Parking Program serves families and individuals who are living in their cars and whom have most recently found themselves homeless for the first time. Jewish Family Services provides a gated lot for these families to park at night, and indoor space for dinners and other activities, as well as indoor showers.
Back in November, Maya Silberstein, Nicole Trotta, and the Tikkun Olam Committee introduced the Safe Parking Program to the 9th grade students. It was then that the students started their brainstorming and planning for this event. The 9th grade students spent 2 of their community times researching and planning what to cook as a meal, what activities we would engage in with these families, and how to go about serving dinner to 60 people!
During the week of February 4th, the 9th grade students spent much of their POD and afterschool time preparing for this event. Many of the students spent hours in our school kitchen, with Chef Giselle Wellman, preparing a dinner and dessert, while many other students spent their time that week planning what activities they would do with these families after dinner.
On the evening of February 7th, some of the 9th grades students went to Jewish Family Services and served the dinner they cooked, to over 60 people and families. The evening was filled with overwhelming emotions of gratitude, compassion, and love. Not only did the students serve a meal, but they also engaged with these individuals and families and spent some quality time playing games, holding meaningful conversations, and interacting with the families.
Please enjoy a video of the project below.
9th Grade Safe Parking Tikkun Olam Project
Maya Silberstein – Student Perspective:
Throughout the week leading up to the project, I was nervous as to not only how the project would turn out, but also as to how the participating students would feel about their time spent planning, cooking, and volunteering at the JFS campus. Usually when we do Tikkun Olam projects at school, we never see who the supplies we collect is actually going to. This time, it would be different. Furthermore, we relying solely on student participation to make sure that this project would be executed properly. However, when the week started, I was blown away by the engagement of my peers in doing Tikkun Olam. Then, when we arrived at the JFS campus, I could truly feel the positive energy in the room when the freshmen and I were interacting with the people whom we were serving the food to. This experience made me realize my passion for helping others could easily be spread and shared among the entire high school. After this evening, I am more motivated and excited than ever to continue planning Tikkun Olam projects, and to help create an environment of giving to others in MUS.
“To see how happy and positive everyone we met was really amazing.”
“It didn’t feel like we were doing community service – getting hours didn’t even cross our minds.”
“I had these predefined thoughts of what homeless people would be like before I went in there, and once I came out I realized that these people are just like everyone else. They inspired me alot, just them being there inspired me.”
“I left that building with such fulfillment, and you could tell that they appreciated it so much.”
“There was one guy in particular who came up to us and said “I don’t know about any ingredients, but I can tell that this food is made with so much love.”