The content below was submitted by the Chabad Lubavitch of Larchmont and Mamaroneck.
Teens For the Community (TFC), a club for Jewish teens, has an innovative approach to combating society’s struggle with the “terrible teens.” TFC empowers youth to maximize their potential by offering programs to bring teens together, learning about themselves and giving back to their communities.
TFC teaches teens critical leadership skills, putting power in the hands of the teens themselves. Through brainstorming, delegating, and executing, teens create and implement community service initiatives, charity fundraisers, local and national trips, and more.
Rabbi Mendel Silberstein, the club’s founder, saw that adults were irritated with teens, seeing them as “takers” with nothing to offer until they grow up. Silberstein, however, saw society’s outlook as the root of the problem, causing a vicious cycle. “How can anyone expect anything different when we refuse to give teens any responsibility?”
Silberstein dreamed of a club that would harness this incredible potential and empower its members to make significant changes and choices in their own lives, as well as in the community. This frustration led to the birth of TFC, “for teens, by teens.”
TFC gathers weekly to undertake a new community service project. Recently, after Hurricane Sandy, TFC teens teamed up to make sushi to distribute to the various shelters in need. Another week, they also prepared and executed a fabulous carnival for the Coachman Homeless Shelter with various booths and refreshments. They also made and delivered delicious sandwiches to Hope Community Services in New Rochelle. When the cold winter approached, TFC made scarves to give to those in need.
As Rabbi Silberstein sums it up, “We’re watching the development of the leaders of tomorrow.”