This is the fifth in a series of interviews featuring a handful of the nearly 10,000 awesome teens who are involved with J-Serve – the International Day of Jewish Youth Service coming up on April 22. Below, Ryan Ladd, a 17-year old high school junior in Austin, Texas shares his story. (And check out the first, second, third and fourth J-Serve interviews.)

Can you tell me more about your background with service?
For as far back as I can remember, any service I did was with the Jewish community. My first real introduction was doing service with other teens from my synagogue, and planning a community service project for my bar mitzvah. That experience was particularly eye opening because I got to see community service and leadership blended together. My project was focused on philanthropy, and I threw a benefit concert at a country club to raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation. I invited lots of people, my friend’s band played, and we had raffles with prizes donated from local stores. The event ended up raising more than $3,000.
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