Meeting the refugees from the Global Village Project was an amazing experience.

Rene Walter

When I had first arrived I wasn’t sure what to expect or who I would be meeting. I stepped into the room where all the girls were and saw teenagers sitting in chairs talking to my friends acting normal and telling jokes.

As I went to sit down and join in on the conversation I greeted everyone with a warm smile and a friendly greeting. Upon getting to know the girls and hearing their stories I realized I could relate to them on many levels. Then once we did the activity where we all listed things we have in common i realized there were a lot more things I hadn’t realized, like that we all didn’t like school and all loved pizza and Chris Hemsworth.

This overall experience was eye opening for me and I realized that just because these girls are from different parts of the world, we are all connected and similar in one way or another. I left that school with so many new friendships and so many new values to take with me. •

Every generation is controlled by the constant increasing pressure to change the world.

Millenials are constantly reminding us, Generation Z, that we are the ones that can make the biggest difference, not only for the present but also in the future. Although, changing the world seems like a pretty big task for a teenager. How are we supposed to do this? Where do we even start? Who is going to help me? So many questions and so many steps go into figuring out a way to change the world. But I have found the key, the first step to changing the world.

Make a connection. This may seem way too simple to be the key to changing the world but it is. The connection is the most important factor in the process of changing the world.

Mya Artzi

In our December Jumpspark Strong Women’s Fellowship › meeting, we met teen refugee girls from many different countries. This was absolutely amazing to me. We met them at the Global Village Project › , an organization that brings teen refugees together in order to prepare them for American high school. As I sat in the classroom, listening to 40 different girls close to my age from all over the world, I noticed that although we come from so many  different backgrounds, we are all more similar than I could have ever imagined. We are all girls who are active on social media, who love Rihanna, who love a snow day, and who are just trying to get through high school. The conversation came easy and the laughter flowed throughout the room. Our connection was strong. Together, we felt more powerful than any comment, stare, judgement, or slur a person could say about our race, gender, ethnicity, or religion.

At the beginning of the program, we played a brief game to introduce ourselves to the group. Every JumpSpark member was paired with a refugee. As we went around the room introducing our partners, I sat in awe of the number of teens I was able to meet from so many different countries; countries like Rwanda, Congo, Malaysia, Afghanistan, and Syria. Syria. Wow. I am a Jew and the girl sitting in the table next to me is Syrian. I am officially and fully engaged, excited, and overwhelmed in such a good way, and ready to change the world.

My connection with Israel is a part of who I am. I have learned about the importance of my homeland since I was a young child, and my passion drove me abroad just last year as I attended high school in Israel for two months. This brief two-month journey during my sophomore year changed my life. I learned so much about Israel from its early history to current issues. One of Israel’s main issues right now is its relationship with Syria. The ongoing controversy and battles in war and in ethics between the countries has continued to increase over the years. It is a constant battle between the territories, the people, and the resources and it never seems to end. The only way to end this is to create peace, but how will we create peace if Israelis and Syrians won’t talk to each other? Because of the lack of connection between the people of both countries, to the people of each place, it seems that there is there is nothing to lose.

So this is where we as Gen Zers can step in. We are in charge of building those connections in hopes of one day possibly ending the fight. Today, 20 Jewish girls were able to make connections with three Syrian girls. The conversations we shared had nothing to do with our ethnicity, race, or religion. The conversations were solely based on our numerous, easily discovered commonalities, and we are were elated, surprised and thankful for our newfound friendships.  Others might not have felt it as much as I did, but I believe that with this program we took a first step in changing the world. •

Over the last year, JumpSpark connected and collaborated with organizations and individuals that impact Jewish teens in Atlanta. As a Federation Innovation initiative, we have engaged over a thousand members of the Jewish community through innovative programming for Jewish teens, their parents and the Jewish Educators that serve them. We know that building the Atlanta Jewish teen ecosystem takes new ideas, community collaboration and a rethinking of what is possible. It is in this spirit that we are proud to introduce JumpSpark Grants.

Fall 2018 Spark Collaboration Grant Recipients: NFTY-SAR and The Temple partnered to exhance their Fall Kallah experience in Atlanta for 200 attendees.

Spark Grants are large-scale strategic investments into the Jewish teen ecosystem that could create new programs, fund new initiatives, support programmatic growth or rethink existing models.

Spark Grants must:

  1. Serve either Jewish teens, Jewish professionals who work with teens, the families of Jewish teens, or all three.
  2. Support, develop or foster the infrastructure of the Atlanta Jewish teen community.
  3. Seek to create new points of entry for Jewish teens, parents and professionals to thrive in the Atlanta Jewish community.
  4. Meet an identified need or want in the community and have a supportive constituency.
  5. Create spaces that are pluralistic and radically welcoming.
  6. Provide high-level Jewish learning and community building opportunities.
  7. Foster collaboration with multiple partners with one clear project owner.

Do you think you’re sitting on the next big thing for Atlanta? Are you ready to finally take that risk you’ve been dreaming of? Let’s think big and build something together!

  • Think BIG! Our grants can support multi-year programmatic initiatives, operational costs and organizational overhead for your organization.
  • Don’t have the bandwidth to pull off your idea? We will partner with you to provide the programmatic support, educational consultation, and marketing assistance you need to succeed.
  • Afraid to take a risk? We want to offer support but leave you in the driver’s seat. JumpSpark partnerships will provide financial and programmatic support, but your organization will own and steer the program. With JumpSpark Big Idea Grants you can feel comfortable taking a risk and trying something new.
  • What to make a lasting impact? We are interested in supporting programs for multiple years. Let’s discover how we can grow your idea together!

 Apply at jumpsparkatl.org/jumpspark-grant-application.

JumpSpark, Atlanta’s initiative for Jewish teen engagement, invests in Atlanta’s Jewish community to expand and enrich the Jewish teen landscape by collaborating with existing programs, supporting new and innovative ideas, and thinking creatively to meet the needs of teens, their parents, and the Jewish educators and professionals serving them. Supported as an innovation initiative of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta and the Jim Joseph Foundation. Learn more at jumpsparkatl.org.