Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Projects Launch Party- Featured in the CJN

TORONTO — More than 250 people recently attended The Projects launch party to learn about volunteer opportunities and get involved in Jewish social action.

Dave Goodman and Jessica Taylor are Top 20 Under 40 volunteer nominees. [Cara Edell photo]

Held on April 10 at 6 Degrees nightclub, the event encouraged guests to donate time instead of money to make a change in the community. More than 2,000 volunteer hours were raised for 15 different Jewish social service agencies.

The Projects is a collaboration of seven major Jewish organizations in Toronto: The House, Annex Shul, Impact Toronto, Birthright Alumni Community, UJA’s Community Connect, Jewish Urban Meeting Place and Hillel Toronto.

The Top 20 Under 40 volunteer nominees for UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s agencies [Barry Roden photo]
“This collaboration was a result of all the agencies wanting to create a robust social-action portfolio, offering young adults the opportunities to volunteer as much as possible,” said Alana Kayfetz, manager of volunteer initiatives at Community Connect.

“The Projects allows all of the organizations to work together in equal partnership. Helping those in need is incredibly important for us as young Jewish adults and is at the heart of Jewish values and belief. By working together, we will strengthen this community and allow for it to prosper in a way that is truly meaningful.”
Kayfetz said she hopes The Projects “will become the central address for young Jewish Torontonians to get involved and know that they will make a difference for the betterment of the local community and society.”
The Projects also featured some of Toronto’s best and brightest young Jewish volunteers, who were nominated for the Top 20 Under 40 for UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s agencies.

“This was an opportunity to give honour and to celebrate those who have been dedicated to giving back their time and have set great examples of how to live generously,” Kayfetz said. Justin Lebofsky, who volunteers for Jewish Addiction Counselling Services Toronto, and Yoelit Lipinsky, who volunteers for Mount Sinai Hospital, were both presented with awards at the party.

“Volunteering feels great. Those who are dedicated leaders are modest and do not really have an opportunity to be recognized by their friends. This was an opportunity to give them a chance to shine, give them the honour they deserve and allow them to act as role models for the young Jewish community at large,” Kayfetz said.

Jessica Taylor, who was nominated for her volunteer work with the Birthright Alumni Community, said she was “truly honoured to be included amongst a group of people who do such great work in the community. I know most of us volunteer because we have causes we care about, and we’re not looking for praise or recognition, but it’s great to see that the community appreciates the work being done.”
This year, Taylor is one of the chairs for BAC2FASHION, a charity fashion show that raise money for vulnerable seniors. She is also a mentor in the Birthright leadership training program and will be chaperoning the Young Adult March of the Living.

“I think The Projects launch party is such an important event as there are so many great volunteer opportunities in the community, but people don’t necessarily know that they exist or how to get involved,” Taylor said. “Recognizing the top volunteers also helps show the community that the volunteer work being done is valuable, needed and appreciated.”

Aside from being a time-raiser, the party also had a dessert and candy buffet, live art by Jessica Gorlicky, a performance by the band Little Black Dress and raffle prizes.

By CARA EDELL, Special to The CJN

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