Event in Harlem Reflects on Impact and Kicks Off Opportunities to Serve Around the Country
NEW YORK, NY; October 23, 2019 — Hundreds of partners, supporters, and dedicated stakeholders who are passionate about the power of service celebrated Repair the World’s decade-long commitment to making meaningful service a part of American Jewish life last week. Emblematic of Repair’s roots in authentic service with local partners to address communities’ pressing needs, Repair is marking the occasion with #MoreThanService volunteer opportunities and community events throughout the country.
At the anniversary celebration in Harlem, which included a service project with the Community Kitchen and Pantry of West Harlem, Larry Brooks, Board Chair of Repair the World commented, “Our efforts depend on committed people that hold a shared vision–that service can be impactful across communities, meaningful to those involved, and powerful as a vehicle that strengthens relationships. Repair was founded to build a field of Jewish service, one that empowered individuals that seek to live their Jewish values in service to others. Today, we can look back with our partners and friends and see both how much we’ve accomplished and how much work there still is to do.”
While Repair’s approach has evolved over ten years, what has never changed is the enthusiasm and energy of young adults to serve, learn, and make a difference in their communities, in partnership with those leading their local communities. Over ten years, Repair the World has impacted more than 1,750 Repair community partners, welcomed nearly 200 Repair Fellows and alumni, and engaged more than 160,500 participants. Repair the World has demonstrated that service, when done right, can amplify the impact of local service organizations and can be a meaningful way to engage in Jewish life and to build Jewish community.
Ruth Messinger, Social Justice Consultant and Global Justice Ambassador, AJWS, spoke at the celebration, remarking that everyone associated with Repair—its Fellows, community partners, staff, board, and funders—all played critical roles in making service a defining element of Jewish life. “Repair and its partners have helped to change the understanding that people have of Jewish life. Service is, in fact, the central way that so many of us live out and express our Jewishness–and Repair creates meaningful ways for us to do exactly that.”
Repair was founded in 2009 to make service a defining element of American Jewish life. In 2013, Repair began to engage directly with on the ground work in specific communities through its Repair Communities program, which placed cohorts of young adults in partnerships with trusted local service organizations and supported them in mobilizing and creating service experiences for other young adults. This peer-to-peer model, which is on the ground in nine different communities today, enables Repair Fellows and local staff to work closely with local nonprofits to address urgent community needs including food justice, education justice, criminal justice reform, housing needs, racial equity, and more.
“This year gives me an opportunity to build relationships with my Brooklyn neighbors, work with organizations tackling education justice, and engage young people in service work,” says Brenna Rosen, a Repair the World Fellow in Brooklyn. “I hope to finish my year as a Repair the World Fellow with an increased ability to make change in the world around me and amplify communities with change.”
Repair’s on-the-ground local community efforts are combined with its work building the field of Jewish service and its national partnerships with other organizations to support them in building meaningful and effective service into their work. At key moments in the year, Repair launches online campaigns as a way to galvanize an online community of changemakers. In the last year alone, Repair has reached 1.7 million individuals online through campaigns like MLK Day, encouraging individuals to #ActNow in solidarity with directly impacted communities, and through #ShareHerStory, an online campaign highlighting the untold stories of Jewish Women of Color in connection with the Jewish holiday of Purim.
All of Repair’s initiatives and resources strive to empower people to engage in difficult conversations, to build deep and transformative relationships within and between their communities, and to translate those values into action through impactful service and learning. Especially in the Jewish community, a generation of young adults who increasingly connect their passion to create change with Jewish heritage and tradition are moved to live out their values through Repair the World.
“When we talk to others, learn about their struggles, have our eyes opened to different life experiences, we begin to understand the work that needs to be done to make our communities more equitable and better places to live for all,” adds Cindy Greenberg, who recently was named Repair’s President and CEO, following 5 years as executive director of Repair the World New York. “Young people see the challenges in communities and want to be a part of the solution. I’m thrilled to continue Repair’s work with our partners and with our Fellows who envision the change they want—and then commit to making it happen.”
Repair is grateful for its 10th anniversary sponsors and funders, including the Himan Brown Charitable Trust, Jim Joseph Foundation, PJ Library, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Marcus Foundation, and Insperity.
To learn more about how to get involved and volunteer with Repair the World, visit weRepair.org/volunteer.