Over Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend, 9th through 12th graders from Temple Sholom and J-Teen Leadership of Westchester joined together to participate in a teen-led community service experience in Charleston, SC.
The purpose of the trip was to provide assistance, resources and supplies to those in need following the devastation of Hurricane Matthew, and for the teens to form a strong and meaningful connection with Charleston’s Jewish community.
“This was a great opportunity for our teens to put Jewish values into action and make a difference beyond their ‘backyards,’” said Gina Pernicano, Temple Sholom’s public relations coordinator, who served as a trip advisor.
“It was so rewarding for them to hear the stories of the people they were helping and to see the impact of their efforts firsthand,” she said.
The weekend’s community service projects ranged from preparing “resettling kits” at One 80 Place for individuals and families transitioning out of shelter housing, to cleaning and restoring gravestones and monuments at the oldest surviving Jewish cemetery in the South.
The teens also donated their time and energy to creating oyster bags for reef construction with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, and building frames for a new house with Sea Island’s Habitat for Humanity.
Other trip highlights included historical tours of downtown Charleston and the Magnolia Plantation; a team-building scavenger hunt; social programs with the College of Charleston Hillel, BBYO of Charleston, Dor Tikvah and the Sherman House; and civil rights-themed services at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim and Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (“Mother Emanuel”).