As young adults watched their summer camp jobs, internships, study programs and travel plans unravel due to COVID-19, a nationwide collective of Jewish service organizations (including Federations) had a flash of insight. Why not mobilize young adults, ages 18-29, to spend four weeks this summer engaged in social justice projects focusing on people disproportionately impacted by the pandemic?
Thus, Serve the Moment was born in 10 U.S. cities, including Atlanta, with Repair the World taking the lead in recruitment. Lily Brent, executive director of Repair the World, accepted the challenge and helped put together Atlanta’s cohort of nine young adults who worked on food justice, education, mental health support, and more. The program was so successful it is now recruiting candidates for the fall. Stipends of $500 a month are provided to help offset personal costs.
“It’s been really rewarding to hear how meaningful Serve the Moment has been, both for the Corps Members who volunteered, and the organizations they served. I got multiple emails rolling in from both sides about how this program filled a need, bringing together a cohort of young people, connecting them to purpose and to each other.”
Corps members filled their time with direct or virtual service, plus learning sessions on social justice taught by nationally known guest speakers.
Marius Karolinski hails from Massachusetts, but now lives in Atlanta. His placement was with Concrete Jungle, where he worked on the food pantry team and organized fruit picks in the area. He joined Serve the Moment hoping it would help him gain experience and professional development in the food-related field he wants to pursue. Marius enjoys working in his kitchen and spends about 10 hours a week cooking or baking. This Fall, he will be working as a teacher for a local Jewish Kids group and working with WUNDERGRUBS, a sustainable alternative protein company.
Others worked with the JF&CS Kosher Food Pantry, Second Helpings, and Blue Dove Foundation. Kayla Cohen, Atlanta’s Serve the Moment coordinator, said the program also filled a big social need. “Corps members really bonded as a group, helping each other counter COVID isolation and meeting new friends from out-of-town schools.”
If you are looking to volunteer while learning about social inequities and systemic injustices (racial justice, food justice, and education justice, Serve the Moment is looking for young adults (ages 18-29) to serve alongside community partners from September 30 to December 11 in a part-time fellowship program. Learn more here: https://www.tfaforms.com/4841213.