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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day & The Volunteer Spirit

BBYO Jewish Youth Group in Cincinnati

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

From a young age, Jewish children are taught the concept of Tzedakah, or giving without any expectation of receiving – truly being selfless.

Popular culture has movements like “Paying it Forward,” that often find themselves compared in sentiment to Tzedakah. Doing something nice, just for the sake of doing it.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is January 18, and with the approach of a day honoring the Civil Rights leader, the Mayerson JCC is full with activities and reflection on our volunteer efforts.

On January 18, the J is hosting a MLK Day of Service, pairing children and teens together to prep meals and create cards for a local non-profit, Tender Mercies, which serves the homeless.

Blog_BBYO_MKL_Day_of_ServiceThere’s so much value to be found in cultivating a volunteering spirit from a young age. Organizations like BBYO are leading the charge in community involvement. BBYO at the Mayerson JCC is a youth-led organization that allows teens to create their experiences, including volunteering and community involvement. Teens can elect each other for leadership positions and shape the activities that the BBYO takes part in.

“Volunteering has helped me learn different perspectives and viewpoints. It’s shown me new ways of thinking and living, and that not everyone gets the same opportunities as I do,“ Lia Shapiro, Vice President of Ner Tamid BBG, the Cincinnati BBYO Chapter said.

According a study by the Corporation for National & Community Service, “There is a significant relationship between volunteering and good health; when individuals volunteer, they not only help their community but also experience better health in later years, whether in terms of greater longevity, higher functional ability, or lower rates of depression.”

The J community is fully immersed in volunteering. Opportunities are created for almost all life stages to pick up and take part in doing good for others.

Micah Bachrach, former Shaliach for the Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio (KIO) BBYO Region has already established relationships with various non-profits and aims to help the recently-elected Shaliach continue those goals.

“Last year, I built a relationship between the Special Olympics and BBYO. I reached out to multiple Special Olympics advisors, and even though we didn’t have the time to create an event, I’m going to work with the current Shaliach to help them continue that relationship. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to have our first event together this year,” Micah said.

The Shaliach position that Micah was in charge of was based in creating community service and volunteering opportunities.

“My motto is that I always want to lead community service in a way that makes it fun. My ultimate goal was to make others enjoy and see the value in community service,” he said.

With over one hundred annual opportunities for volunteering and giving back, the J charges you to take advantage of those events. Fully step into the volunteer spirit and find community opportunities that create a ripple effect for others.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The time is always right to do what is right.”

Cross training. Young woman exercising with dumbbells.

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