Hanukkah is a magical time of year, often celebrated by receiving small presents, songs, and, lighting the menorah. For families and individuals who want to give back, Hanukkah also provides an opportunity to practice tzedakah, giving to those in need.
The Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards recipients are all teen leaders who practice tzedakah in unique ways. Their projects offer an abundance of inspiration for those who want to use Hanukkah as an opportunity to give. Keep reading to learn more about eight Awardee projects and how they make a conscious effort to repair the world throughout the year.
Beatriz De Oliveira 2019 Awardee
Beatriz’s organization, Books for a Change, has provided books to 10,000 children across Brazil. Their mission is to expose young children to literature as an entertaining pastime that will not only grow with them but will also allow successful development and a brighter future.
Give Art Supplies
Malcolm Asher 2019 Awardee
Something as simple as a pack of markers and construction paper can make a difference and help children positively perceive hospitals and reduce the stigma that goes with hospitalization. ArtPass International collects and distributes art supplies to as many children’s hospitals in developing countries as they can to apply the healing powers of art therapy. They have impacted over 12,000 children around the world.
Help the Homeless
Solomon Olshin 2019 Awardee
Shine creates devices and products that provide hundreds of houseless Portlanders with light, power, heat and internet access. They developed the “JuiceBox”, a solar-powered microgrid system that provides light, electricity, and heat to Portlanders transitioning out of homelessness. The volunteers participating in the project also help install solar panels to bring houseless people dignity, independence, and employability as they transition out of homelessness.
Creating Positive Experiences for Young Refugees
Lucy Beckett 2019 Awardee
Camp Nefesh allows refugee children in Sacramento to connect with one another and get acclimated to their new home through the magic of summer camp. Teen volunteers act as counselors, helpers, and program leaders.
Helping Siblings of Individuals Struggling with Mental Health
Jessica Goldberg 2019 Awardee
Providing a safe space and community for siblings (ages 6 to 18) of people who struggle with mental health, Jessica established Sib4Sib in 2016. The project continues to support a community of siblings who share coping mechanisms and provide mutual support as they share their experiences in an environment of confidentiality and trust.
Donating Clothes to the Homeless
Dillon Eisman 2018 Awardee
Sew Swag, Inc., creatively reuses and transforms donated apparel for homeless youth in the greater Los Angeles area. Dillon’s organization provides the clothing and dignity necessary for those in need to begin to transition off the streets. Learn how this project is impacting the community here.
Helping Grieving Teens
Genevieve Liu 2018 Awardee
SLAP’D offers an online space for teens to find each other, memorialize their parents, and share their experiences surrounding loss. SLAP’D is the social media platform for teens who have lost a parent that helps them find hope and connection through shared experiences online. They have a Teen Board that works hard to make SLAP’D the best resource it can be for grieving teens. Teen Board members serve as ambassadors for SLAP’D both online and in their own communities.
Mentoring Refugee Children
Grace Freedman 2019 Awardee
JaxTHRIVE provides a nurturing environment where tutoring, life skills mentoring, and friendship can help refugee children advance in the classroom and flourish in their communities. The project helps ensure an easier transition for students who have come to this country under extraordinary circumstances.
Hanukkah is a Great Opportunity
Hanukkah is a great opportunity to celebrate the joy of giving, sharing with those who need it, and recognizing the work of teens who are repairing the world within their own communities and beyond. Even the smallest gifts and actions can make a difference to those who need a helping hand. Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awardees are an inspiration for ways to practice tzedakah during the holidays (and the whole year!), make a difference in someone’s life, and live tikkun olam.
Find Out More About The Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards
The Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards are for Jewish teens aged 13-19 who have a key leadership role at an organization or program centered around repairing the world. Every year since 2007, the Helen Diller Family Foundation has awarded $36,000 each to up to 15 Jewish teens who are making the world a better place. Check out past recipients and more inspiring work here.