We continue to look back on our year with a reflection on JTI & CJP Community Action Day from Amanda Lewis, a rising senior at Peabody Veterans Memorial High School. Amanda joined us in New Orleans for Habitat for Humanity in February and in the coming year she will be one of our Peer Leadership Fellows. Community Action Day is our biggest program of the year, with more than 200 participants coming together for an amazing day that serves multiple organizations that help make our community better like Plummer Youth Promise, LifeBridge, Lynn Shelter Association, and more.
On April 14th, JTI hosted its annual community action day event at Plummer Youth Promise in Salem. The day was filled with so many fun projects that required people of all ages to come together. Some of the projects involved painting a mural, gardening, building shelving, painting picnic tables, etc.
I was a “project leader” of a group whose job was to create a multi-panel mural for Plummer Youth Promise. My job was simply to oversee the project, make sure the group knew what they needed to do, and ensure that the project would be done in the specific time slot we had.
My team consisted of young kids who worked so hard all day to create a beautifully painted, abstract mural of a piano keyboard. Although I did not know the kids in my group prior to the project day, we all came together and worked diligently to complete the task at hand.
I was shocked at how driven my group was to not only finish the mural, but make it the best it could be. Before Community Action Day, I wondered how I was going to get the kids invested in the project, but in the end, they all took it upon themselves to brainstorm new ideas to make our design even better, and they thought of creative strategies for completing the mural efficiently. It was so heartwarming to see a group of such young kids feel so passionately about making something that would bring joy for others, and not themselves. Their drive and willingness to contribute to the project was so impressive, and it made me happy to watch them have fun.
This was my first experience at JTI’s Community Action Day, and I am so happy I was a part of it this year. Not only did I truly enjoy getting to know the kids, but I also loved working on a project that helped others. I would gladly be a part of Community Action Day again, and I can not wait to attend Jewish Teen Initiative’s events in the future!