2018-04-25 / Columns

Moorestown Mount Laurel BBYO takes the initiative with a day of service

By DREW HOFFMAN Regional Mazkir

Members of MML BBYO and Advisor Caryn Shaw getting ready for a day of service. They are (from left), Sophia Modena, Robyn Shaw, Caryn Shaw, and Taylor Kares. Members of MML BBYO and Advisor Caryn Shaw getting ready for a day of service. They are (from left), Sophia Modena, Robyn Shaw, Caryn Shaw, and Taylor Kares. On Sunday, Apr. 15, Moorestown Mount Laurel BBYO took the initiative by launching its very own J-Serve project. J-Serve is a community service initiative run by BBYO chapters and regions internationally. The group can choose any project they wish, and run it with the teens.

Moorestown Mount Laurel BBYO, or MML BBYO, held a joint project with the Moorestown Jewish Association teen group. Members of other South Jersey Region BBYO chapters also attended.

Caryn Shaw, advisor of MML BBYO, first learned about J-Serve last year and wanted it to continue.

“I learned about J-Serve last year and the Moorestown Jewish Association teen group participated in a much smaller JServe project last year,” said Shaw. “We baked at the Gift of Life family house for transplant patients and families. It was at that time we decided that we would like to hold a much bigger event this year. We applied for a mini-grant through J-Serve and have been planning for the past six months or so.”

This year’s project, held at the Moorestown Community House, brought in about 50 teens. While this number is great, Shaw sees lots of room for growth.

“We would love to grow this project next year and have more teens involved, which would mean more donated items,” she said.

At the event, there were 10 service projects being performed that benefitted various local charities. The projects consisted of sandwiches for the homeless, letters to Congressmen, dog toys, cat toys, bookmarks, bracelets, care bags, gift bags, American flag pins, and snack bags. These benefitted many charities, including animal shelters, the Ronald McDonald House and JFCS, to name a few.

The teens in attendance helped make the event such a success by enjoying themselves during the projects and putting effort into them.

Shaw said, “community service work is the primary focus of both teen groups, MJA teens and the MML BBYO chapter, all year long, so this is something the teens [felt] strongly about. Overall, I think the teens enjoyed the event and really liked sharing it with other BBYO chapters. The hands-on nature of the projects made the teens feel that they [were] making a difference.”

One teen in attendance, Regional N’siah Trudi Fleishman, had lots of praise for the J-Serve efforts.

“MML’s J-Serve event was extremely engaging for everyone present. We got the opportunity to take part in the projects of our choice and even got to learn about the different organizations and their impact on the community. Overall, the event was a big success and was a great way to bring together the community to help others,” said Fleishman.

The projects were easy to do, and Shaw hopes the teens learned valuable lessons in performing them.

Shaw said, “I’ve spent a lifetime doing community service work, so it’s extremely important to me that the next generation understands the importance of giving back. It’s vital that the teens see how little effort, money and time it takes to give back, to make a huge impact on someone in need. Many of the projects we did could be done in 20 minutes or less, I call them ‘20 minute mitzvahs.’” 

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