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Eliminating Period Poverty Together

By JumpSpark


Period poverty is one of the most overlooked struggles, yet it still manages to affect more than 40 million people here in the United States alone, according to the Shriver Report. In January, the Jumpspark Strong Women Fellowship hosted a Zoom meeting to discuss the topics of period poverty, menstrual equity, and what the Atlanta community can do to create change. Lorrie L. King, former public health and humanitarian response professional, spoke to the group about how her experiences have taught her about the importance of advocating for menstrual aid projects and educating people on menstrual issues. Another big component of the event was involved with Project Dignity, a program created by the Jewish Federation to bring people facing period poverty the supplies and education they need to maintain menstrual hygiene. 

The event kicked off with a brief explanation of the purpose of Project Dignity, and Lorrie presented a video about period poverty. Produced with women experiencing homelessness in New York City, this video was made to open the eyes of people around the country to what unhoused people who menstruate go through each month. 

Many people living on the streets and facing poverty, in general, are forced to choose between necessary menstrual hygiene commodities and food because the products are overpriced. Rather than purchasing the typically expensive period products, people have resorted to using all types of materials to “take care” of their period. Some of these include napkins, socks, leaves, rags, and shirts, all of which do not meet the standards of safe-to-use products. 

Later in our session, the group began discussing the history behind periods and how the menstrual cycle used to be something celebrated but has slowly become something taboo and to be ashamed of among many cultures. Many menstruating people in places like Western Nepal are removed from their primary living spaces and sent to unsanitary huts while they are on their periods. These women are cast out and are forced to live in sheds with the farm animals because menstruating is considered to be dirty and impure. 

A screenshot from Project Dignity’s zoom lecture.

This culture of removing women from their homes and placing them in the subtropical elements, such as extreme temperatures and high altitudes, causes many women to be prone to further health issues and to die. Girls living in these areas have been neglected and are uneducated about their own bodies. They do not understand what happens to them every month, nor where the blood even comes from. This lack of education and information leads to extreme misinformation among the culture, which causes more pain and suffering for women. 

Period poverty is a global issue, but it also affects many people here in Atlanta, and Project Dignity also works to help create change locally. Periods are a personal topic, especially for young people who have to manage their period while going to school and maintaining education. This month, Project Dignity is focusing on donating menstrual products to high schools in the Atlanta community. According to a survey done by State of the Period, 1 in 5 teenagers suffer from period poverty, and many high schoolers who get their periods are not supplied with necessary items such as pads and tampons during their school week, which Project Dignity is trying to change. 

Periods should not be something that has to impair the education and school days of teenagers. Pads and tampons should be supplied in restrooms of public schools to ensure that no student will have to worry about how they will manage their period. 

Another major initiative of Project Dignity this month is to help provide menstrual products for local refugee centers. When refugees arrive in Atlanta, they are each given packs filled with essentials; however, these packs almost never include period supplies. Project Dignity has set up an Amazon wishlist to make it as easy as possible for people to donate period supplies. Both of these missions are equally important and can easily be achieved with the support and generosity of our community. 

Leah Moradi, 16, is a sophomore at The Weber School in Sandy Springs, GA, who enjoys being with friends, reading, and advocating for topics she is passionate about.

This article was originally published in VOX ATL. Read the full article here.


By JumpSpark


“Participating in the fellowships enabled me to make some of my closest Jewish friends from across the country and channel my passion for social change into real action,” writes JumpSpark Strong Woman Fellow Sarah Dowling.

Pictured: JumpSpark Strong Woman Fellows share community building time with activist Logan Zinman Gerber (top right)

Sarah: I first realized the need for meaningful and effective gun violence prevention legislation in 2016, when an angry former teacher at my sister’s school was intercepted by the police on his way back to school with a gun and ammunition he bought immediately after being fired. 

I learned to turn my passion into action by working with Logan Zinman Gerber, who runs a high school fellowship to teach teens across the country how to enact social change on topics like gun violence prevention, and, in the future, racial justice. Logan taught me about gun violence prevention in a social justice seminar held by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC), and helped me present a speech to my United States congressional representatives alongside other Jewish teenagers from my community to lobby for gun violence prevention. 

About a month later, I joined two RAC fellowships, both of which were led by Logan. My gun violence prevention fellowship allowed me to learn about the complex issue in a nuanced light, providing me with the tools I needed for action. I looked forward to each session, and I never left a meeting without something new to think about. 

Participating in the fellowships enabled me to make some of my closest Jewish friends from across the country and channel my passion for social change into real action. For my culminating fellowship project, I led a voter registration campaign that reached over 500 people. Logan still continues to support and inspire me, and meeting with her as part of JumpSpark’s Strong Women Fellowship reminded me of the importance of activism and unity as a whole, especially in the context of the recent attack on the Capitol, which highlighted the division in our nation and reminded us that white supremacy still stands strong.

Eva: While many teens feel stranded this year, discovering opportunities to make a change regarding issues that are important to us is especially important in times as turbulent as the present. Whether we like it or not, our lives are changing, making it all the more important to reflect on our pasts and plan how we want to continue our journeys in the future just as Logan taught us. This year, I have opened my eyes to the world around me, and discovered for myself what issues are important to me. In the past, I have volunteered for a gun violence prevention organization. Hearing from Logan, who has done incredible work regarding gun violence prevention, really helped me to understand what a global issue gun violence is. With this new knowledge, I can decide for myself what I want to do in the future to create change, all while incorporating my Jewish identity. 

When Logan met with our Strong Women Fellowship in November, she pushed each of us to reflect on our own journeys and relationships with Judaism and activism thus far in our lives. Logan has spent the past two years leading teen gun violence prevention and civic engagement campaigns for the Reform Jewish Movement, connecting with half a million voters. In addition, she has been active in her outside work as the national volunteer coordinator for the American Cancer Society, where she assists people in coping with transition, as well as sharing their cancer stories. 

Our session with Logan fostered a greater sense of connection and understanding between the members of our Fellowship. In one activity where we created timelines of our Jewish journey, we found countless similarities among the handful of other girls in our breakout groups. In particular, we all found that while times of isolation from the Jewish community hurt us emotionally in the moment, in the end, these times pushed us to find our own connection to Judaism and only worked to strengthen our Jewish identities. The farther each of us got from Judaism, the stronger our desire for connection grew.

Pictured: Padlet featuring notes from Strong Woman Fellows.

In addition, Logan connected activism and making change to the Jewish value of tikkun olam, repairing the world. Writing anonymously on a Padlet (an online discussion board, where we had posted questions for everyone to reflect upon), several Strong Women Fellows described this connection and how it inspires them: 

“Tikkun olam inspires me to create change. It is also powerful to know that helping in the world was something that my ancestors did.” 

Another Strong Women Fellow described Judaism as “… the coffee in my activism – it fuels everything I do.”

Making these connections was both powerful for us as Jews, and as activists as well. In addition to empowering us to examine our own connections to Judaism and activism, Logan gave the Strong Women Fellows resources we need to pursue tikkun olam in the future, such as her gun violence prevention campaign geared toward young people. 

“There are so many amazing resources out there to help others get registered to vote,” one Strong Women Fellow wrote on the Padlet. 

By giving us the knowledge we need to make personal connections to Judaism and the principle of tikkun olam, meeting with Logan inspired us to create positive change in the world in a way that models our Jewish values.

What we found to be the biggest takeaway from our meeting was that anyone can make a difference. We realized that we all can work to create a world we want to live in and that our work does not have to wait. Each of us has issues we care about, from gun violence to racial justice to climate change to reproductive rights, so we can all fight to create change, one step at a time.

Eva Beresin, 16, is a sophomore at The Weber School in Sandy Springs, GA, who enjoys reading and spending time with friends.

Sarah Dowling, 16, is a junior at The Lovett School in Atlanta who enjoys listening to music and reading

This article was originally published by VOX ATL. Read the full article here.

High School in Israel in the time of COVID

By JumpSpark

My name is Rachel Binderman and I am a junior on a High School program called  Alexander Muss High School in Israel. At the beginning of my sophomore year I decided to sign up for AMHSI. When COVID struck I was worried that the program would not continue, but thankfully it worked out and I am now sitting  in the land of Israel. Right now is a crazy time to be traveling anywhere, especially across the world. Although there are many uncertainties while traveling I felt that going to Israel was still the best decision I could have made. The fact that JumpSpark helped me get here is even more special because it has been a huge part of my high school experience through the Strong Women Fellowship. I have gotten to take the skills I learned from them to Israel with me.

When I first decided to go to Israel it was because I have always felt a deep connection to my Jewish identity, but not Israel. I came in search of a deeper connection to the land my ancestors once struggled to keep and treasured so dearly. When I settled on going on AMHSI I knew this was the right program for me. It gives me the experience to learn about the land in an interactive way and meet Jewish  teens from around the world with many of the same interests as me.

When I first got to AMHSI I was in quarantine, or bidud in Hebrew, for 2 weeks. It was scary going into it knowing that I would be stuck in a room with strangers for 2 weeks. The first day was rough but  by the second day these 3 girls became some of my best friends. We had many online classes learning about Israeli culture through art, music, and movies. Even in quarantine we were always busy with fun activities. I already felt the power that Israel has even though I was unable to leave the campus. 

The day that we got out of bidud we were already off to our first trip (tiyul). We stayed at a kibbutz and during the 3 days that we  were there we went hiking on Mount Gilboa, went to natural springs, and the beach. After this  trip the country went on lockdown so we were stuck on campus but even that was amazing. We learned about Israel and had fun activities planned by our teachers and madrichim. We got close at the program during this  time and even were able to get special permission to travel. We got to go on special volunteering trips at farms around Israel to help the farmers in need. After about 3 weeks lockdown started to ease up and we were able to go back on tiyulim

We have been on many tiyulim since then and each one gets better and better. We learn about the history of Israel and the Jewish people while also having fun with our friends. I am so privileged to be able to travel around a country half way across the world during this time of uncertainty and I am grateful for every second. We have been to the North, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and small cities in between and I can not wait to keep exploring this beautiful land. I am so grateful for my experience here so far and I hope other high school students consider applying for this amazing program.


Self Expression Through Spoken Word

By JumpSpark

Caroline Rothstein, an internationally touring writer, spoken word poet and performer, spoke to a group of Atlanta teens about your own personal gods, Judaism in today, self-love, anti-semitism, and reincarnation, inspiring us to take her words into our lives and realize a greater truth in the world we face as young and Jewish women. 

Rothstein has performed poetry, recited speeches, and led workshops at colleges, schools, community organizations, and other performance spaces. She was able to present to us in an interactive, non-toxic, yet inspiring space — even on Zoom. 

Last fall, we had an amazing opportunity to get to know Rothstein prior to the JumpSpark Strong Women Fellowship full-group meeting. We learned how to effectively interact in a safe space on topics she planned to bring to the Jewish teens across Atlanta who come together (now virtually) to empower, learn from, and educate each other so we could take her experiences to benefit our own.

As soon as the famous “ding-dong” went off in the Zoom call, we were immediately struck by Caroline’s energy and presence. Despite being virtual, her contagious smile translated extremely well and lit up the (virtual) workspace. She immediately made us feel welcome and relieved for the discussion. She asked how everyone was doing on the call, and it felt so natural to speak with her. 

Quite frankly, prior to the call, we figured we would probably talk about whatever the speaker-of-the-month wanted to talk about, having the common somewhat-awkward Zoom call atmosphere. But Caroline was different. Instead of having an already prepared and rigid event, we were able to discuss with her what we thought the event should be about. We kicked off our discussion by talking broadly about matters we think are vital to discuss today, with ideas like body image and racial injustices. 

Caroline did not just hear, but listened to the actual words we were saying. It felt extremely personable that we were able to guide and facilitate the focus of the event, while understanding that with the constantly changing world, the subject matter could change. 

Around two days prior to the large-group meeting, Caroline sent us an email, pretty much checking in, asking if we thought the topic we had decided on was still applicable and was tailored appropriately for the culture of the world. Caroline teaches us how to observe the world around us and illustrate the idea of recognition of our surroundings. The flexibility Caroline taught and encouraged helped this group of teens to understand how omnipresent issues in the world are ever changing.

During the full group event, Caroline shared her poems and performed spoken word. She was able to convey a message and strong feelings through each poem. We could see how strong she is, as she was able to be so vulnerable through her poetry. 

We also did a couple writing exercises. We loved the letter we wrote to ourselves. Miriam wrote about how sometimes in her busy life she needs to take a moment to think and have a peaceful moment.

“Dear Miriam of the past, Life may be hectic so it’s alright to take a bit more time for yourself sometimes. Stay in your bed longer if you want or do a 15 step skincare routine.”

Overall, Caroline was an amazing speaker, and we’d love to hear more of her poems in the future. She left us with the feeling that it is OK to be every single part of ourselves, no matter the circumstances or how different you are. Because of Caroline, in the future, we feel that we will be able to do what we want in our professional and personal lives.

The Strong Women Fellowship meeting with Caroline Rothstein ended with sharing take-aways from the session.

Miriam Raggs is a 10th grader at The Weber School and Noa Young is a 10th grader at North Springs High School. Both are second-year Fellows and Peer Leaders for the JumpSpark Strong Women Fellowship.

Read the original article published in VoxAtl here.

Inspirational Intern Queen: Helping Students Prepare For Life After High School

By JumpSpark

Story by Mollie Binderman and Audrey Zeff

Now more than ever students need to be prepared for life after school. Internships can introduce you to new careers and make you more prepared for a job of your own.

That’s why it was so impactful hearing Lauren Berger discuss how to find internships and jobs as part of this year’s JumpSpark Strong Women Fellowship. The Fellowship is geared toward teens, many of whom are beginning or have begun the process of college applications, or even making the decision to head straight into the career field. Getting advice on internships and careers from Berger was extremely impactful, because we as young adults are starting to face the time for decision-making for our future. 

Lauren Berger started Internqueen website to help connect youth with internships.

JumpSpark’s Strong Women Fellowship is an educational and empowering program where Jewish teen girls talk about issues facing the world and learn to be leaders. We hear from inspiring people all the time. Last month, we got to hear from Berger, who has two websites, one targeted at adults to help them find jobs, and one focused on college and high school students like us. Her website, Internqueen helps us take the next steps in our career by finding internships according to our passions. 


According to Internqueen, Berger’s advice has reached the ears of 6 million people and helped shape their careers. She has also written books and been featured on many notable media outlets like Business InsiderForbesTeen VogueThe Today Show, and more. Lauren’s YouTube channel also has more than 2 million views.

Berger talked about a wide variety of career advice, including how useful it is for high schoolers to get internships. Internships allow job-like experiences and are great on college resumes, which is especially helpful as you’re thinking about college. During the meeting she discussed her own story with us and shared her mistakes and achievements. We all learned a lot about the dos and don’ts when applying and completing internships.

Here are a few of our key take-aways and lessons we learned.

“I learned that it is okay to relax and take a break once in a while.” – Emma

“The value of LinkedIn!” – Rebecca

“To keep up with connections because they may be helpful later!” – Katie

“Reach out to professional contacts at least 3 times a year!” – Audrey

“You should always stay in contact with people.” – Ella

“To always follow up with a thank you email and/or note.” – Mollie

“I really liked learning about how I can effectively prepare for the future!” – Eva

“Always stay in contact with people.” – Rachel

“It’s okay to fail.” – Ariel

Hearing from a speaker like Lauren is so impactful on teens like us as we are growing older and trying to figure out questions like what career we will want to have in 10 years.

Mollie Binderman, 16, is a sophomore at North Springs Charter High School in Sandy Springs, who enjoys hanging out with friends and cooking. Audrey Zeff, 15, is a sophomore at Grady High School who loves playing volleyball and hanging out with friends. They are both participants in the Strong Women Fellowship.

This article was originally published on VOX ATL. Read it here.

“Her Campus Media:” College Dreams Pave The Way For Lifelong Dreams

By JumpSpark

Her Campus Media is an 100% woman-owned and -operated organization that provides the opportunity for college-age women to publish their voices, is the No. 1 media portfolio for college women, and works to serve and empower young women. The Founder, Stephanie Kaplan Lewis, recently spoke to JumpSpark’s Strong Women Fellowship, pointing out major lessons that she had learned from her experience starting a successful business. 

Lewis gave useful insights meant to guide any young woman who will one day start a business. Her tips include: follow your passions, build a killer team, pump out a business plan, put the pressure on, and spend hardly any money. 

After her initial presentation, Lewis paused for questions, which gave Fellows an opportunity to ask about her experience or ask for guidance about their own projects and aspirations. For instance, Ariella Ayenesazan, a 9th grader at Peachtree Ridge High School, is following her passion through her own mask business and asked intriguing questions on how to grow her business on different platforms like Lewis did.

Next, Lewis led the Fellows in an exercise where the group discussed Impostor Syndrome and finding one’s purpose through questions like “what drives you?” and fill-in-the-blanks like “Sometimes I worry that I’m not as ___ everyone thinks I am.” Lewis was vulnerable with the group by sharing times when she doubts herself and opened the floor to those who wanted to share their thoughts, reactions, and feelings. 

Lewis began her dream while in college, where she met her colleagues as Harvard undergrads while running a student publication for women on campus. The publication’s popularity resonated with college women across the country who began asking for advice on starting something similar at their schools. She has continued on with her passion to this day. 

Lewis spoke to us as a leader who represents female empowerment, inspiring future generations. The interactive event allowed us to ask questions and stay involved. She responded with impactful answers, allowing everyone to be vulnerable and share some stories of our own lives.

Finally, Fellows created a reflective word cloud that included our feelings and takeaways from the meeting, which included words like “driven,” “inspired,” “strong” and “empowered.”


Here are a few of our take-aways. 

“It was great to meet a successful woman who was willing to share her expertise with us, and she even said we could reach out to her after the meeting and participate in some of the high school Her Campus media programs. I appreciated how open Lewis was in sharing times she failed so we would not repeat the same mistakes. One thing that I will take away is that if someone has enough drive and ambition, they can do whatever they put their mind to, which I think is an important message for young women and teens to hear, because it motivates them to act on their dreams.” – Amelia Heller

“Her story inspires me to create my own path in life, like maybe create my own business one day. She pulled out all the stops to make her dreams come true, which I aspire to do one day as well. Stephanie is someone we can all look up to and learn from. With hard work, anything is possible.” – Kayla Jacobs

“I learned a lot about what it takes to start a company and the struggles faced when doing so. [Lewis’] presentation was engaging and informative, and I definitely took a lot away from it, especially when we went around and challenged our ‘Imposter Syndrome’ views of ourselves.” – Alexa Freedman

I learned how she started her company with very low expenses. I also really loved the activities we did, because it showed how it is okay to show your vulnerable side.” – Ariella Ayenesazan

“It was so interesting to hear her story about how she created her magazine company. It was so inspiring.” – Miriam Raggs

“I learned that it is possible to start a company without any money. I also learned that sacrifices are necessary to be successful.” – Maya Laufer

Amelia Heller, 15, is a sophomore at The Weber School in Atlanta. She loves musical theatre and hanging out with friends. Kayla Jacobs, 17, is a senior at Pope High School who loves to hang out with her friends, volunteer and shop online.

The Strong Women Fellowship aims to empower Jewish girls and young women through activities and speakers like Lewis who educate, energize, and empower the Fellows to be passionate and successful in their pursuits.

This article was originally published on VOX ATL. Read it here.

Persevering With My Peers: Insight into Teen Mental Health

By JumpSpark

I grew up with a school counselor as my mom. Needless to say, I have always known the importance of mental health. Talking about my feelings had never been a problem; in fact, it was normal in my household. Therefore, I brought that mindset into elementary school, which wasn’t anything necessarily special, considering crying and complaining were daily occurrences for most children trying to understand how to share, create friendships, and express themselves. I pretty much had one best friend who knew every thought that went through my head throughout middle school. She was practically my sister, so I didn’t feel any need to keep anything in. Sharing our thoughts and expressing our emotions were normal, everyday tasks. Again, unleashing this vulnerability was a regular and uneventful occurrence in my day-to-day life. 

When I got to high school, I was shocked that, after getting acquainted with my peers through surface-level discussions about our previous schools and favorite nail spots, they weren’t openly sharing their deepest, darkest secrets. Now that we are seniors, my friends are very aware that I am not afraid to show or talk about my emotions. After realizing not everyone is comfortable with feeling things deeply, much less talking about those feelings, I have learned to normalize mental health in my personal life. Most of the time, I encourage my friends to understand that feeling any type of emotion is normal, and you do not have to feel ashamed of it. 

Because of the pandemic going on right now, I have become very aware of my own mental health needs as well as the mental health concerns of those around me. The effects of isolation have been clear: Not only have I become personally acquainted with both anxiety and depression; I have  seen most of my friends struggle. One thing we can agree on in these times of turmoil in our country is that now, more than ever, is the time to eradicate the stigma surrounding mental health.

Fortunately, I have had the unusual opportunity to view and interpret real data on the state of teen mental health in the Jewish community through an anonymous survey I created during my internship at the Blue Dove Foundation. One hundred fifty-four respondents, most of them Jewish, from both public and private schools across Atlanta provided insight into teen mental health issues. Some of the information was pleasantly uplifting; however, some statistics reflected the growing concerns society faces regarding mental health. For example, it was shocking to see roughly half the people who took the survey have experienced depression in the past six months, potentially propagated by COVID-19. Although I know, statistically, depression is pervasive among teens, it almost seems unreal that so many people have experienced it, considering I have had very little experience with people close to me opening up about their depression. Additionally, about 29 percent of respondents engage in solo or group drinking or drug use when feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed, which seems like too large of a number. When asked what they would worry about most when confiding in someone for emotional support, about 12 percent of respondents expressed that they do not have anyone they would trust to tell, and about 15 percent wouldn’t even want their friends/family finding out they are struggling.

Many things struck me as concerning in these statistics.  For example, 86 percent of participants have had a friend confide in them about their mental health, yet 44 percent of those respondents were told not to tell anyone about that discussion. Further, 43 percent said they feel as if they do not know how to help their friends’ mental health issues, and 41 percent of respondents don’t open up to others about mental health, because they do not want to burden others with their problems.

Teens are clearly underprepared to effectively help their peers with mental health, yet most respondents said they would go to a friend before talking to an adult about their mental health issues. Because the difference between the number of people who would most trust a friend and the number of teens who feel ready to handle someone’s mental health concerns, it is clear to me things need to change. It is extremely difficult to know the right steps to take regarding someone else’s personal struggles, and there is a lack of resources to point teens in the right direction. From these statistics, it is clear that most teens are “driving blindly” while trying to help their friends with their problems. 

By encouraging data-driven education and advocacy, Blue Dove aims to increase awareness about mental illness and make all of us feel less alone in our mental health journey. When giving teens the opportunity to share and listen to one another’s experiences without judgement, and by dedicating the time and resources needed to teach helping skills, vulnerability and understanding, Jewish youth organizations and day schools can simultaneously help end the stigma and increase the emotional intelligence and resilience of our teen population.

This article was originally published by the Blue Dove Foundation.

JumpSpark Launches Innovative Third Year of Strong Women Fellowship

By JumpSpark

ATLANTA, GA – Jumpspark’s Strong Women Fellowship, an empowering educational cohort for Jewish teens in grades 9-12, has continued to grow in size and expand programming to feature a Teen Board leadership position for third year returning fellows to give oversight over the fellowship throughout the year, interest-based cohorts for increased community building among fellows, small group meetings using Moving Traditions’ Rosh Hodesh curriculum, and increased leadership responsibilities for second-year returning teens. The 68 fellows participating in 2020-21 represent 17 high schools and 14 synagogues from the Atlanta metro.

The Strong Women Fellowship, launched in fall 2018 with an initial cohort of 28 teens, provides unparalleled access to strong women leaders, thinkers and voices shaping their world. Each month fellows meet guest speakers, build relationships in small groups, and grapple with the issues facing young women. The program is funded by the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta, and the Jim Joseph Foundation.

After her experience in the fellowship last year, Sophie Kieffer said, “JumpSpark brought together an array of Jewish girls from across Atlanta with vastly different backgrounds, life experiences, and awareness of social issues. Our sessions taught us the skills to enter the world as college students, exposed us to the rich diversity of Jewish Atlanta, and heightened our awareness on the key social issues impacting our time.”

Monthly guests include local female Jewish professionals and leaders, as well as national leaders and influencers, that speak on relevant topics such as women in business, civic engagement, mental health, disability inclusion, and more. Guests this year include Stephanie Kaplan Lewis (co-founder, chief executive officer, and editor-in-chief of Her Campus), Lauren Berger (CEO & Founder of both and, Caroline Rothstein (internationally touring and acclaimed writer, poet, and performer), Pamela Schuller (internationally known inclusion advocate), and more. For the full itinerary, visit

New this year, JumpSpark has developed a Teen Leadership Board open to third year returning fellows to incorporate teen voice into every aspect of the fellowship. The Teen Board chose the speakers for the year and the topics to be discussed in the fellowship’s small groups. They will also give high-level feedback on the fellowship throughout the year and will continue to shape the fellowship’s growth and development.

The 2020-21 Teen Board includes:

Téa Barton

Emma Cohen

Lauren Cohn

Rachel Cohn

Sydney Fox

Tamar Guggenheim

Katie Hurwitz

Maya Laufer

Stella Mackler

Macy Mannheimer

Emma Nowitz

Lilah Presser

Zoe Siegel

Lili Stadler

Rene Walter

In addition, with the help of Rachel Alterman Wallack of VOX ATL, Atlanta’s home for uncensored teen publishing and self-expression, JumpSpark has reinvigorated a robust Peer Leader program for second year returning fellows offering leadership roles, tailored training and group facilitation resources, event planning experience, and resume-building skills and opportunities.

The 2020-21 Peer Leaders include:

Eva Beresin

Mollie Binderman

Rachel Binderman

Gabby Cope

Sarah Dowling

Alexa Freedman

Ruby Frohman

Julia Harris

Amelia Heller

Kayla Jacobs

Rebecca Kann

Phoebe Kaplan

Kira Mermelstein

Miriam Raggs

Skylar Rosenberg

Jenna Sailor

Peyton Schwartz

Noa Young

Audrey Zef

The 2020-21 Strong Women fellows are:

Ariella Ayenesazan, Peachtree Ridge HS c/o 2024

Téa Barton*, Riverwood Int’l School c/o 2021

Eva Beresin*, The Weber School c/o 2023

Mollie Binderman*, North Springs HS c/o 2023

Rachel Binderman*, The Weber School c/o 2022

Ella Brill, Decatur HS, c/o 2024

Maia Capuano, Alpharetta HS c/o 2024

Ryan Carter, Grady HS c/o 2024

Emma Cohen*, Woodward Academy c/o 2022

Lauren Cohn*, Riverwood Int’l School c/o 2021

Rachel Cohn*, Riverwood Int’l School c/o 2021

Dana Cohn, Riverwood Int’l School c/o 2024

Gabby Cope*, Lakeside HS c/o 2023

Gavrielle Diamant, The Weber School c/o 2024

Sarah Dowling*, The Lovett School c/o 2022

Sydney Fox*, Riverwood Int’l School c/o 2021

Leora Frank, Atlanta Jewish Academy c/o 2024

Ryan Frank, Riverwood Int’l School c/o 2024

Alexa Freedman*, The Galloway School c/o 2022

Ruby Frohman*, Dunwoody HS c/o 2023

Marissa Goodman*, Pace Academy c/o 2022

Jules Greenberg, The Galloway School c/o 2024

Eden Guggenheim, The Weber School c/o 2024

Tamar Guggenheim*, Riverwood Int’l School c/o 2022

Julia Harris*, Dunwoody HS c/o 2023

Amelia Heller*, The Weber School c/o 2023

Katie Hurwitz*, Johns Creek HS c/o 2021

Kayla Jacobs*, Pope HS c/o 2021

Rebecca Kann*, Pace Academy c/o 2022

Phoebe Kaplan*, Riverwood Int’l School c/o 2023

Nicole Katz, North Springs HS c/o 2023

Rachel Katz, Riverwood Int’l School c/o 2024

Leah May Kogon, The Weber School c/o 2024

Kayla Kornfeld, Riverwood Int’l School c/o 2023

Maya Laufer*, Dunwoody HS c/o 2022

Amber Lewis, The Weber School c/o 2024

Maya Lewis, The Weber School c/o 2023

Stella Mackler*, Grady HS c/o 2022

Macy Mannheimer*, Milton HS c/o 2021

Kira Mermelstein*, Atlanta Jewish Academy c/o 2021

Mollie Meyerowitz, Pace Academy c/o 2022

Leah Moradi, The Weber School c/o 2023

Hannah Much, Pace Academy c/o 2023

Emma Nowitz*, North Springs HS c/o 2022

Leah Perlman, Riverwood Int’l School c/o 2024

Lilah Presser*, The Weber School c/o 2021

Rebecca Price, Druid Hills HS c/o 2023

Ariel Raggs*, Chamblee Charter HS c/o 2021

Miriam Raggs*, The Weber School c/o 2023

Zoe Richmond, Riverwood Int’l School c/o 2024

Lulu Rosenberg*, North Springs HS c/o 2022

Skylar Rosenberg*, Lakeside HS c/o 2023

Jenna Sailor*, Dunwoody HS c/o 2023

Ava Satisky, Riverwood Int’l School c/o 2024

Ariel Scher, Saint Francis HS c/o 2023

Peyton Schwartz*, Pope HS c/o 2023

Zoe Siegel*, Riverwood Int’l School c/o 2022

Jamie Silberman, Dunwoody HS c/o 2024

Lenah Simons, Grady HS c/o 2024

Lilly Srochi, Riverwood Int’l School c/o 2024

Lili Stadler*, The Weber School c/o 2021

Lily Stoumen*, Riverwood Int’l School c/o 2021

Leah Taube, Riverwood Int’l School c/o 2024

Rene Walter*, Dunwoody HS c/o 2021

Noa Young*, North Springs HS c/o 2023

Audrey Zeff*, Grady HS c/o 2023

Alex Zelcer*, Woodward Academy c/o 2021

Bailey Zibitt, Riverwood Int’l School c/o 2024

*Denotes returning Strong Women fellow

JumpSpark, Atlanta’s hub for Jewish teen innovation and engagement, connects and invests in the community to create more meaningful and defining moments for Jewish teens in Atlanta. Serving teens, their parents, and educators that work with teens, JumpSpark offers empowering teen programs, Navigating Parenthood workshops, professional development, and grants. JumpSpark is supported as an innovation initiative of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, by the Jim Joseph Foundation, and by generous donors in the community.

Stacy Shapiro - Jewish Atlanta

Spark Note: Inspiring Change…One Zoom Call at a Time

By JumpSpark

Unlike most things in quarantine, my involvement with the Strong Women Fellows has not slowed or even skipped a beat. In the past month, I’ve helped facilitate three meetings to create our annual end-of-the-year video in collaboration with VOX ATL, a nonprofit organization centered around uncensored (but edited!) content for teens by teens. This included shooting videos, writing emails, and figuring out which room in my house was quietest for Zoom calls. 

This whole experience has been a far cry from what I’ve found at school; in one class, I haven’t even seen or talked to my teacher since the shut-down began. This means no calls, no recordings, nothing — just a few weekly assignments to do ourselves. Suffice to say, I don’t lean back on my community at school for support. Luckily, I have another option. 

When I initially applied for this Fellowship in 2018, I had no idea what to expect. For one thing, it was brand-new; I was part of the first cohort of Strong Woman and there certainly wasn’t a video for me to watch and see what I was getting myself into! Secondly, I didn’t have a prominent Jewish community in the suburbs where I lived (hence why I applied), and I didn’t know if I would arrive at meetings as an outsider or not. There are few times in my life where I can say with absolute joy that I was wrong, and this is one of them. Everything was done with the fellows in mind and in top priority; the date and location of each meeting changed monthly to accommodate everyone’s busy schedules. To me, it meant I matter, and furthermore so do my opinions. You see, this past year, a middle-ground was found with meetings on Sunday afternoon in a central location (I was very happy to learn I wouldn’t have to drive downtown on a weekday anymore). 

The reason for the change says everything about the program: They asked what we thought, and they listened. It’s the same motto that drives VOX and after spending an afternoon filming there last year, it’s the reason why both my brother and I joined as teen staff. And it’s the reason I spend my quarantine with VOX and Srtong Women extraordinaire’s Rachel Alterman Wallack, Tibria Brown, Emma Mac, Annie Fortnow, and the rest of the Fellows, working on a video that encapsulates everyone’s experience. We spent hours discussing ways to incorporate different aspects of the program, from the journals we write in at the end of each meeting to the guest speakers we listened to. We tackled filming at home and learning how to be our best camerawomen — no easy feat, I might add! Keeping the camera steady has never seemed so difficult. 

 Although most of my life has come to a halt, the Strong Women Fellowship continues to keep me connected, one Zoom call at a time. 

Interested in next year’s Strong Women Fellowship? Apply here:

Spark Note: A Fellow’s Reflection on the Impact of the Strong Women Fellowship

By JumpSpark

Hi! My name is Noa Young. I am a ninth grader at North Springs High School, where I am part of the drama department. Outside of school, I am an active member of my BBYO chapter, B’yachad, love to hang out with friends, listen to music, and of course go to the Strong Women’s Fellowship!

This past summer, I remember my mom asking me whether I wanted to be a part of the Strong Women’s Fellowship in the upcoming year. Usually, when my mom asks me to do this type of thing, I assume it will be boring and not something I truly want to do. This fellowship was different. I consider myself to be a feminist, and I knew this fellowship would give me the opportunity to speak with others with similar views as me in an appropriate setting. I told my mom I would love to.

Going to the first meeting in September, I was not sure what to expect. But, reconnecting with girls I hadn’t seen in a long time, eating the best snacks, playing great icebreaker games, and talking about womenhood, exceeded my expectations. I absolutely loved the meeting and could not wait to go back the following months.

This year, I had the opportunity to hear so many incredible women speak about their life, each special and important in their own ways. Specifically, I was extremely moved by Whitney Fisch. Whitney Fisch is a high school counselor, teen advocate, and food blogger. She talked about body positivity, love of food, and how healthy comes in all body types. Different from other speakers, I felt Whitney connected with each of the girls on a personal level, having us close our eyes and feeding us statements like, “raise your hand if you have ever wished your body looked different.”

After, she told us the number of girls who raised their hands, usually being almost everyone. Her words inspired me and opened my eyes that all bodies are beautiful, healthy, and special. At the end of the meeting, we got to decorate journals for ourselves. Whitney came to my table and I remember just talking to her about how much we loved her presentation and how inspired we all were. To this day, I follow her on Instagram, have a little slip of paper she gave to us all hanging on my family’s refrigerator, and whenever I hear others talking about wanting to change or not loving their bodies, I “Whitney Fisch It” and tell them the words she inspired us all with.

Without this fellowship this year, my outlooks on life would be different. I now feel more confident not only through the words I speak, but with my body, mind, and self.

Interested in being the 2020-2021 Cohort of Strong Women Fellowship… Apply Here!

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