“So, tell us how you spent your summer?” For sure, there was real work to be done and plenty to go around for the crop of summer interns recruited from The Jewish Fund Teen Board this year.

  • Planning next year’s retreat for The Jewish Fund Teen Board
  • Coding new pages for the Jewish Family Service ( JFS ) website
  • Evaluating grant proposals focusing on teen mental health
  • Working first-hand with social workers and therapists at Jewish Family Service
  • Implementing the Walk4Friendship for Friendship Circle
  • Learning life-saving skills through suicide prevention programs, Safe TALK and ASIST
  • Launching a 5K/10K run and fundraiser to benefit the South Oakland Shelter

An initiative of  The Jewish Fund Teen Board, made possible through the generous support of the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, the Non-Profit Summer Internship program matched its Teen Board Members and Alumni with paid internships at their grantees and Jewish agencies in the community. “Our goal is to extend the strategic work of our Teen Board by providing the opportunity for our students to follow the results of their grantmaking and to gain practical experience at organizations where they have developed a working knowledge and personal interest,” said Martha Goldberg, Coordinator the Teen Board. “Our teens – self-selected and then carefully vetted to do the intensive year-long work of the Teen Board – all come well equipped for these internships. Each in their own right are rising stars in the Jewish community and, through the curriculum of the Teen Board, they have developed skills as leaders, as philanthropists, as community volunteers and activists.”

Now in its fourth year – and in the first summer of its Summer Internship Program – The Jewish Fund Teen Board placed 12 high school and college students at five agencies:  Carly Klein at the Jewish Women’s Foundation; Lucie Rosenthal at The Jewish Fund; Dani Silverman and Griffin Kozlow at Jewish Family Service; Ryan Silberg and Brett Gonte at South Oakland Shelter; Paul Schmitz, Julia Abramson and Skylar Raitt at Friendship Circle; and Sarah Kreitman and Jordan Taylor at Judson Center.

At summer’s end, myJewishDetroit caught up with three, representing a cross section of the group as whole. Here are their stories:

In Their Words

This is Skylar Raitt, Intern at Friendship Circle, UMatter

Skylar, 17, is a senior at Bloomfield Hills High School, ready to share that her “dream school” is the University of Michigan, with an interest in going into psychology. “My mom has a degree in psychology,” she said, “And throughout my childhood, she has had the tools to work through most everything that comes her way, and has taught my sister and me the same. I want to provide for my children in that way, and give to other people the resilience my mom has given to me.”

A member of The Jewish Fund Teen Board in 2015, Skylar has remained involved with the Board through 2017. She is active with her youth group at Temple Israel and served as President of her BBYO Chapter last year. Additionally, she has been a volunteer with Summer in the City. A current board member of UMatter at Friendship Circle and as an Intern with Friendship Circle this summer, she has participated in both the SafeTALK and ASIST programs.

 “How I spent my summer”

“Over the summer, I interned at Friendship Circle. My supervisor was Rabbi Yarden Blumstein. Working at Friendship Circle has been amazing. From organizing the Walk4Friendship to helping install UMatter Weeks in more than 10 local high schools, my ideas always were heard. Interning at Friendship Circle was like no other internship that I know. I did not sit at a desk all day doing busy work. I was out of the office, attending meetings and speaking my mind. Everyone has something to give at Friendship Circle. I cannot wait until I am able to come back next summer.”

“How I first heard about The Jewish Teen Board”

“I was called. Literally. I received a text from an unknown number! I was confused, so I Googled “The Jewish Fund Teen Board.” My connection was really through BBYO and a friend who was on the Teen Board in its pilot year. She told me about the program and it seemed to me that learning about the grant making process would be a skill that would be really useful later in life.”

Greatest take away for the internship

At Friendship Circle, I had the opportunity to see the flipside of the grant process in action – particularly for the UMatter proposal, which the Teen Board supported this past year. At Friendship Circle, we had so many ideas about going into the schools with a week-long program dedicated to mental wellness and suicide prevention, but they all require money. So, that’s what we worked on, writing grants proposals to support SafeTALK programs and TED Talks. I would never have been able to do that had I not been on the Teen Board.”

This is Dani Silverman, Summer Intern at Jewish Family Service

Dani, 18, is a graduate of Frankel Jewish Academy and an incoming freshman at the University of Michigan on a pre-med track with an intended major in neuroscience and biopsychology. “I always have been interested in psychology and psychiatry,” she says. “I grew up with a mom who had head injury and memory loss as a consequence. I watched her grow and recover, and she gave me the tools to better myself. We’re really big on transcendental meditation and yoga.”

A member of the Jewish Fund Teen Board in its Pilot Year (2014) and the Teen Board Leadership (2015 – 2017), Dani spent what she considers a transformative summer as a participant on Teen Mission 14. She has been active in BBYO and YFTI, the youth group at Temple Israel and spent many past summers at Tamarack Camps. Currently, she is a board member of UMatter, Friendship Circle. During her internship at JFS, she participated in both the SafeTALK and ASIST trainings.

“How I spent my summer”

“During my internship with Jewish Family Service, I reviewed and evaluated grants for new programs. After evaluating these grants closely with my supervisors, I shared my input on ways to implement the ideas into program development – creating the framework and assessment for the likelihood of their success at JFS. This experience has inspired me to continue to pursue my passion in psychiatry, as I have worked first-hand with many therapists and social workers, and I have discussed real-life cases of mental disorders. The skills that I have gained working at this organization have helped to build a positive learning opportunity, and I would recommend this to any high school student looking for a background in working with issues related to mental health.”

“How I first heard about The Jewish Teen Board”

“My mom took notice of an ad in The Jewish News and suggested that I apply. I was a sophomore on the Teen Board in its first year, and I was really shy at first. But, as our discussions grew to be more intellectual, I really started to enjoy what I was learning and felt I was gaining a window into a field I had never seen before.”

Greatest take away

“The Kevin Briggs UMatter event (“Guardian at the Golden Gate”) held in February 2017 has particular meaning for me. I was on the Teen Board the year Friendship Circle applied and received the grant for the event. I have vivid memories of the day we presented the check, and then to see the results of our grant come into fruition in a highly successful event that truly moved the 400 people who attended– that was a thrill for me.  For the past two grant cycles, the Teen Board has focused much of their work on mental health issues among teens. There’s a growing interest in the topic in the community, and a real need to talk about mental health in our schools. At my high school, that conversation is something people try to avoid. We’ve been working to change that.”

This is Lucie Rosenthal, Intern at The Jewish Fund

Lucie, 19, is a graduate of Berkley High School and a sophomore at the University of Michigan. “I haven’t declared a major yet, but have applied for a program called Organizational Studies – a track that’s competitive to get into,” she says. “Last year I was in Michigan Community Scholars – a program based on community service and social justice. If it weren’t for my experience on Teen Board, I would not have known that would be a field of interest for me. I have really enjoyed the opportunities that have opened to me by getting involved in the greater community while being in school.”

Lucie was a member of The Jewish Fund Teen Board in its Pilot Year (2014) and Teen Board Leadership 2015-2016. “I didn’t know anything about philanthropy, grant-making or the nonprofit world,” she observed. “The experience exposed me to all of that, and I found it was something that was super interesting to me.” Like Dani, Lucie identifies her experience in Israel on Teen Mission 2014 as her inspiration to forge a deeper connection to the Jewish community and the city of Detroit. As a volunteer, she participated in activities with Summer in the City, Yad Ezra, Friendship Circle and with the Hebrew School at Temple Emanuel.

“How I spent my summer”

“At The Jewish Fund – with its office in the Max M. Fisher Federation Building – I had exposure and my hand in a wide variety of projects. The first was to help plan the grant celebration for the 2017 Teen Board in June. With the perspective of being a member of Teen Board at its inception, I was called upon to restructure the recruitment and interview process for the incoming board, as well as to help plan next year’s Teen Board Retreat. Working with Martha Goldberg and Margo Pernick, Executive Director of The Jewish Fund, I had the opportunity to shadow them and sit in on numerous Jewish Fund meetings and site visits.”

“How I first heard about The Jewish Teen Board”

“I saw an ad in the Jewish News. What drew me to the Teen Board was the opportunity to get more involved in Jewish activities in Detroit. I had just come home from Israel with the Federation Teen Mission – two weeks ahead of schedule due to the 2014 outbreak of conflict with Hamas. As hard as it was to leave our Israeli friends, I realized how fortunate I was to live in the Detroit community with the power to give back.”

Greatest take away

“Working on the Teen Board, then alongside the staff of The Jewish Fund as an intern has been a journey for me. It’s been an opportunity to see the needs of the community, to work with like-minded and talented students and community leaders, and to take action – and philanthropy to a whole next level.”

About The Jewish Fund Teen Board

Each year, the Jewish Fund engages a diverse group of 25 Jewish high school students in grades 10 through 12 to learn firsthand the many aspects of philanthropy and grant-making in the metro Detroit community. The Teen Board is youth-led. Members work together to determine how they want to engage their Jewish values to make a real difference in the community. Under the auspices of its parent board, the Jewish Fund Teen Board members work together to grant $50,000 to both Jewish and secular charities in metro Detroit.

The Jewish Fund Teen Board is proud to be a part of the Foundation Board Incubator, a project of the Jewish Teen Funders Network which is generously funded by Laura Lauder and the Maimonides Fund. Applications from potential Board members are accepted in May of each year.

To learn more about teen philanthropy, grant-making and intern opportunities made possible by The Jewish Fund and the Teen Board, please visit online or call Martha Goldberg, 248-642-4741, mgoldberg@jfmd.org.

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