June 10, 2016
Federation’s 2016 annual meeting was a powerful coming-of-age moment for me. It was such an honor to win the Mary and Max London “People Power Award,” for launching Amy’s Holiday Party as my bat mitzvah project, and for my organization to be recognized by the community in this way. Equally thrilling was being nominated to join Federation’s board at this exciting moment when so much change is in the air.
It felt fresh and exciting when Joel Marks said that Federation’s mission will always remain the same, but that the method of delivery is likely to change. That really spoke to a younger generation.
A perfect example of change is the evolution of Amy’s Holiday Party into a non-profit called Creating Connected Communities (CCC). The party still happens every year, but it is now one of seven programs organized by CCC, where I am the Executive Director. Our non-profit has evolved into a much larger and more impactful vehicle for empowering Jewish teen volunteers and serving children and families in need. Today CCC’s programs engage more than 750 teens in hands-on outreach programs serving more than 1,500 children from dozens of low-income neighborhoods, homeless shelters, foster care, and refugee centers around Atlanta.
And when Eric Robbins talked about the hunger people have for community, and the need for Federation to create new relationships, it was as if he was speaking directly to me. I’m optimistic that with Eric’s leadership, Federation will transcend its current borders to share the story of our mission and our impact in the non-Jewish community. I know that the relationships and partnerships that will come from this kind of thinking can be truly transformational.
Finally, I had tears in my eyes as we all sang Shehecheyanu together at the end of the meeting. I’m a Camp Ramah alumna and that song always “gets” me. It also put a lump in my throat to sit right behind the London family and see them lock arms and sway to the music. That’s an image I’ll hold on to as we move into the future together.