New York, NY (October 21, 2015) — FindYourSummer.org, launched in September 2015, is a first-of-its-kind online platform that helps connect Jewish teenagers to more than 350 summer programs in the United States and abroad. The site is unique in its focus on matching Jewish teens in grades 9 – 12 with quality summer opportunities ranging from international travel to career internships. FindYourSummer.org is operated by The Jewish Education Project and jointly funded by UJA-Federation of New York and the Jim Joseph Foundation.
FindYourSummer.org includes 308 summer programs in the United States and 48 international opportunities. Easy-to-use filters allow teens to search by interest (advocacy, dance, environmentalism, Holocaust education, technology, etc.), setting (international, precollege, residential, etc.), and duration (from one to seven weeks).
Residents of New York City’s five boroughs and Nassau, Suffolk, or Westchester counties are also eligible to apply for need-based scholarships through UJA-Federation. This past summer, UJA-Federation awarded nearly $400,000 in scholarships to 242 teens for 26 different summer programs.
“FindYourSummer.org was built to reflect the aspirations and attitudes of teenagers,” says Deborah Joselow, managing director of UJA-Federation’s Commission on Jewish Identity and Renewal. “This web site was created to help teens reach toward their dreams by connecting them to programs designed to cultivate their interests and talents. At FindYourSummer.org, teens will find the right opportunity to make their summer an experience to remember.”
Adds Dawne Bear Novicoff, assistant director of the Jim Joseph Foundation, “Summer months are an ideal time for unique, immersive Jewish teen learning experiences. This dynamic new platform helps teens identify experiences they find most personally meaningful and interesting — critical factors in attracting and engaging teens in Jewish life.”
“The site is designed with a broad range of Jewish teens in mind,” says Robert Sherman, Chief Executive Officer of The Jewish Education Project. “No matter what their connection is to being Jewish, the programs on the site will allow teens to explore their Jewish identity on their own terms, while doing something they love.”
FindYourSummer.org is part of a $9 million Jewish teen education initiative funded by UJA-Federation and the Jim Joseph Foundation, and operated in cooperation with The Jewish Education Project. The four-year grant, which began in July 2014, supports new programming designed to increase the number of New York-based Jewish high school-aged teens participating in meaningful Jewish learning experiences during the summer months. The grant was awarded within the framework of the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Funder Collaborative, composed of national and local funders working together to expand and deepen community-based Jewish teen education and engagement. More than $37 million in grants have been awarded to seven communities in the collaborative.
About UJA-Federation of New York:
For nearly 100 years, UJA-Federation has inspired New Yorkers to act on their values and invest in our community for the biggest impact. Through UJA-Federation, more than 50,000 donors address issues that matter most to them, pooling their resources to care for New Yorkers of all backgrounds and Jews everywhere, to connect people to their Jewish communities, and to respond to crises close to home and around the globe. Working with nearly 100 beneficiary agencies, synagogues, and other Jewish organizations, UJA-Federation is the world’s largest local philanthropy; our reach spans from New York to Israel to more than 70 other countries around the world, touching 4.5 million people each year. For more information on how to donate or volunteer, please visit our website at www.ujafedny.org.
About The Jewish Education Project:
The Jewish Education Project sparks and spreads innovations that expand the reach and increase the impact of Jewish education in congregations, day schools, early childhood centers, and teen programs. The agency provides resources, networks, and tools to individuals, institutions, and communities in order to find innovative and meaningful ways to engage Jewish teens post-bar/bat mitzvah. In addition to FindYourSummer.org, The Jewish Education Project is convening a national incubator to provide ongoing expertise in Jewish engagement to communities around the country. Other initiatives include networks, professional development and webinars to help youth professionals imagine and implement new ideas and programs of teen engagement, and the Westchester Jewish Teen Learning Initiative, which offers teens options for Jewish learning that speak to their individual interests. www.JewishEdProject.org
About The Jim Joseph Foundation:
By investing in promising Jewish education grant initiatives, the Jim Joseph Foundation seeks to foster compelling, effective Jewish learning experiences for young Jews in the United States. Established in 2006, the Jim Joseph Foundation has awarded more than $370 million in grants to engage, educate, and inspire young Jewish minds to discover the joy of living vibrant Jewish lives. www.jimjosephfoundation.org