NFTY's Spreading the Word About Refugees in Need
Kyleigh Banks is President of the North American Federation of Temple Youth's Northwest region, and Daniel Landesberg is President of the North American Federation of Temple Youth's Southern Tropical region.
Refugee camps are often overlooked in Jewish youth programming. While teens love to talk about conflicts, they rarely concentrate on actual life inside of the refugee camps that are a result of those conflicts. Teens work tirelessly to stop major conflicts like genocide (which is great!), but refugees continue to suffer with little recognition.
This summer at the URJ Kutz Camp, home to the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY), we decided to change that. With an open spot for an evening program, we seized the opportunity to educate more than 190 teens at Kutz about refugee camps. The program allowed teens to have a little bit of fun, while learning valuable information about day to day life in refugee camps and how they can help.
Each teen joined a "tribe" and rotated between seven stations. Each station began with a fun game - some stations were competition-style and others were team-building activities, which represented real-life challenges faced by refugees. After each activity, students learned about a corresponding organization or charity. From FreeRice.com to Doctors Without Borders, participants learned about seven non-governmental organizations (including Nothing But Nets) that they can easily bring back to their home communities and contribute to.
As presidents of our respective NFTY regions, our hope is that participants in our program will not only be inspired to make a difference in the lives of refugees, but to utilize the information given to them to educate teens and adults in their home communities. With the help of those communities we can educate, advocate, and fundraise to truly make our voices heard.