High School and College Students Embark on AJWS Volunteer Summer

NEW YORK, June 10, 2007 – This summer, 60 Jewish high school and college students will travel to the developing world for seven incredible weeks of volunteer service, Jewish learning and social justice.

AJWS Volunteer Summer is a unique opportunity for young adults who are interested in bringing tikkun olam (repairing the world) to life by volunteering abroad. This year, high school students will volunteer in Ghana, and college-aged students will volunteer in Thailand, Uganda, or Honduras.

Participants work on construction and agricultural projects side-by-side with local community members. The groups engage in regular study and dialogue sessions to explore the interconnecting themes of Judaism and international development.

The Volunteer Summer pre-trip orientation will take place from June 17-19. After the orientation, participants will depart for their international destinations. All groups will return to the U.S. by August 8. Fall, winter and spring follow-up retreats will occur in cities in the United States.

“I wanted to be a part of Volunteer Summer 2007 because it seemed like the perfect program: committed to actual, sustainable aid, while at the same time combining aspects of Jewish learning and a group dynamic,” comments Hannah Fine of Providence, Rhode Island. “I can’t wait to go to Ghana with AJWS to do something truly meaningful with my time.”

“So many other volunteer summer programs that I looked at seemed to focus more on having an exotic vacation than on performing necessary service work, but AJWS seemed the complete opposite,” says Hannah. “I hope that, by the end of my summer in Ghana, I will be able to re-evaluate my entire life here in America and find ways to continue to spread the message of service that I know I will experience over the course of the summer.”

Shayna Szymkowicz, of Toronto, Canada, will be co-leading the Thailand cohort of volunteers. This is Shayna’s second year leading college-aged volunteers to Thailand on AJWS Volunteer Summer.

“Last summer, working in a community on the Thai-Burmese border was an incredible learning and growing experience, both for the group and certainly for myself,” says Shayna. “I am thrilled and honored to again be part of a program that allows young people to experience the world with new eyes and promotes an active response to global inequity.”

Read more about Volunteer Summer, and learn how you can apply for next year.

For More Information

If you are a member of the press and wish to obtain information about our work or speak to a member of our global team on deadline, please contact Tanyanika Davis, Director of Media Relations, at tdavis@ajws.org.