As some of you know, Beverly and I live in both Chicago and Pittsburgh.
In Chicago, in addition to serving as the volunteer president of JCCWRP, I mentor a graduating senior at Roosevelt University.
In Pittsburgh, I volunteer with a non-profit whose mission is to train and engage Pittsburgh Public High School students in community activism.
The high school students are a diverse group of 25, some immigrants and some native born, mostly living in the inner city.I am struck by their smarts and their determination to make a difference in their communities and beyond.
My mentee is anxious to pursue a career in diplomacy.He is an immigrant, fluent in several languages.I wouldn’t bet against him realizing his dream.
We are living in an era that is characterized by mistrust of institutions.Sometimes skepticism is warranted.On the other hand, what I hear from these students is that they have a burning desire to transform the negative rather than to dwell on it.
That is just what we do every day.
Develop relationships.Network connections.Build bridges.Follow up and follow through. These have been the keys to our success and are equally applicable in any undertaking.
Shalom Klein and I propose that we spend some time this summer setting strategic goals for taking the work of JCCWRP to the next level.And a good part of that should be preparing the next generation to help create the community that they want to live in for years to come.