The following essay on community service was written by Adrianna Keller-Wyman, a middle schooler, enrolled in City Congregation’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah program. Students spend a year and a half researching their heritage, values and beliefs, and write on a Jewish subject of their choice, their major project; they also perform 13 hours of community service, and write about it. An example of this component can be seen below. The process improves both the student’s writing and critical thinking skills, as well as their self confidence and overall maturity.
I did many different things to get my thirteen hours of community service. I helped out at different soup kitchens, watched kids during high holidays services, and made cards for elderly people who don’t have any family to be with during the holidays. I’m also donating 10% of my bat mitzvah money to the camp I go to to help people go who can’t afford it on their own.
Helping out at soup kitchens fit with my family’s value of bettering the world. I worked at one with a few of my friends on Martin Luther King Day and then again with one friend later on. At both of the soup kitchens, I helped prepare food and set up for people to come and eat. I feel that this is a better way to help the homeless than just giving them money on the street. If you give them money on the street they could just spend it on drugs or cigarettes or other things like that, but by helping at a soup kitchen, you know you’re giving them food that they need.
Another thing I did as part of my community service work was to make cards for elderly people that don’t have family to be with during the holidays. My parents and Yelena made cards along with me. I liked making the cards because I can imagine how happy it must make the people to get cards when they are otherwise alone during the holidays or their birthdays.