When I was 15 I was fortunate to participate in the "Diller fellows" program, during which I met Afik Oved, a smart and active teen. By the age of 15 he has already acquired great deal of volunteering experience as well as a Sound tech business he founded. Volunteering was a big part of my life as well, and I myself had a photography business. The connection was inevitable and immediate. We toyed with the idea of an organization which helps youth to fulfill their wildest social initiatives, that are usually been turned down by adults. Three months later, Afik called me and said: Let's do it!
So we did it.
The outcome was an organization which connects youth and adults, by inspiring, supporting and consulting youth in the creation and execution of their own projects. Noar Meir Panav (Youth Lights Its Face) was the organization name which also represented the overarching goal - empowering youth in the real world while spreading light and goodness with social action.
Our launch event included shared lectures, live music and an art exhibition, all made by youth, and conversation rooms for youth and adult combined to discuss their ideas, problems and dreams, a corner stone in their project.
After a few conferences, lectures nights and seminars that we ran in numerous schools in the area, we started seeing the outcome; a 14 years old boy of a low socioeconomic background founded cellphone repair business, a girl who initiated meetings among youth and Holocaust Survivors in order to document their stories through her art work.
A successful year has passed and we decided to take some time to educate ourselves and push the project to the next level. Once again, it was Afik who called to pitch his new idea: creating a boarding school for youth interested in volunteering, entrepreneurship, personal development and high level studies. By the end of the year of service in Toronto I will join Afik in the fundraising efforts, until my draft into the IDF. We are hoping for the first class of students to enter the school within three years.
I'm full of hope that this dream will come true and will be a place where students grow up and spread their goodness, love, and innovative minds in our society.
ShinShin and a Diller Teen Fellow Alumni