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Teens work together (virtually) through challenging times
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Teens work together (virtually) through challenging times

Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County continued their teen programming virtually throughout the pandemic.
Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County continued their teen programming virtually throughout the pandemic.

ON MARCH 13, as schools started to close and after-school programs were being cancelled, Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS) of Greater Mercer County implemented a multifaceted plan to make sure all of its constituents, including teens, would continue receiving services and participating in programs. 

JFCS’ flagship teen programs, Gesher LeKesher Jewish Peer Leadership and the Jewish Community Youth Foundation, continued online.

Teens have continued meeting virtually for the last 11 weeks to share their perspectives on coping with the pandemic and other topics such as how to celebrate Passover, summer plans, coping with stress, and more.

Through anonymous surveys, participants revealed that these meetings helped them feel connected to other people, stay positive, learn techniques to minimize boredom, and remain connected to Jewish values.

In addition, on April 19 a virtual J-Serve, international day of Jewish youth service, attracted more than 60 Jewish teens from grades six-12.

Participants raised more than $234 through the Students Rebuild Hunger Challenge. They also created Notes for Nurses and Signs for Seniors. The signs were distributed to residents at Abrams Residence in Ewing and to recipients of JFCS Kosher Meals on Wheels.

The teens created two additional virtual J-Serve programs and are now partnering with the United Way’s sixth annual Strike Out Hunger event benefitting the Mercer Street Friends Food Bank. Families can drop off non-perishable food to JFCS before June 18.

“Summer Serve Series,” for students entering grades 6-12, will begin July 7. Participants will discuss how Covid-19 has increased the need for service in the community and how they can help. JFCS will also be offering career exploration and high school/college mentoring programs. 

For more information, visit jfcsonline.org or contact Celeste Albert at celestea@jfcsonline.org.

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