Do you want your children to experience the satisfaction of being givers rather than takers?
Do you want your children to learn to be mekadshei Hashem, and to develop leadership qualities that will position them to serve as the leaders and askanim of the next generation?
Do you find that in spite of all the middos programs that are offered in our schools, you still struggle to instill empathy and sensitivity in your children?
Do you want your children to experience genuine happiness and have an intrinsic sense of motivation?
Do you wish your children would take responsibility and lessen their feelings of entitlement?
Are you looking for a way to tap into the energy of children in middle school and to keep them busy in a positive way?
We all talk to our children about empathy, sensitivity, and responsibility. But if we want to truly influence them, then talking about these things will not be enough.
Instead, we need to let them experience it.
This year, our school launched an exciting new initiative known as The Chevra.
The Chevra is a program for middle school boys, in which they volunteer to “give back” to the community by offering various forms of assistance to different organizations. Their activities range from returning seforim to the shelves in their shuls, helping set up for community events, visiting and entertaining the sick and elderly, and many more things. In short, the children are trained to serve as the askanim of the younger generation.
After the inaugural year of this program, we can confidently attest that it has been a resounding success. The enthusiasm of the members of the Chevra is palpable, and their parents and fellow community members alike have been deeply impressed by the excitement for giving to others that has become ingrained in them. Even other children who were not members of the Chevra have been inspired to join these volunteers in some of their activities. The atmosphere in the community has been radically transformed, and their actions have generated a kiddush Hashem within the broader Jewish community as well.
The accompanying flyer will outline the basics of the Chevra program. Please feel free to contact us with any questions, and we are happy to share our resources (flyers, logos, spreadsheets, etc.) for free.
Rabbi Shraga Freedman
In conjunction with the Living Kiddush Hashem Foundation
Mifal Kiddush Hashem was founded with the goal of imbuing every Jew with a powerful sense of mission – the mission to be mekadeish sheim shomayim in his or her own unique way. We strive to accomplish this by raising awareness of the paramount importance of the mitzvah of kiddush Hashem and its centrality in everything we do.
The Chevra – A Leadership Initiative
The Chevra is a program for energetic middle school boys to learn to contribute to the community by volunteering in leadership roles. The boys make many contributions—in their shuls, at communal events, and so forth. They are constantly on call for opportunities to play a leading role in the community or to engage in chessed.
Objectives of the Chevra:
- To cultivate a sense of empathy and responsibility by providing the boys with hands-on experiences with these middos, rather than merely lecturing them.
- To give the boys a taste of the satisfaction they can derive from altruistic work.
- To develop the qualities and sensitivities of askanim, priming the boys to grow up to become involved in their communities.
- To teach children to become mekadshei Hashem and to foster kiddush Hashem in their communities.
- To tap into the leadership potential and endless energy of children in this age group.
How to Set Up a Chevra Program in Your Community:
- Begin with the parents: Organize a committee of parents who are passionate about this program. The parents’ function is to evoke their children’s interest in the idea, to come up with ideas for contributions the Chevra can make, and to network within the community.
- Pique the interest of a few of the most popular boys in the middle school. This will generate excitement about the program among their peers.
- Introduce the Chevra to the boys as an exciting new initiative, which will let them be part of an exclusive group of role models. Present it as an opportunity to become leaders or askanim and to make a difference in the community.
- Impress upon the boys that this is a unique program that does not offer tangible rewards or pay. Make certain they realize that the main purpose of the program is to give to others and to gain satisfaction simply by making other people happy and generating a kiddush Hashem. However, let them realize that there will be some enjoyable side benefits, including sweatshirts and other paraphernalia, as well as an exciting and meaningful trip at the end of the year, when they will have an opportunity to meet some of the askanim of Klal Yisrael and be exposed to our incredible organizations.
- Design an exciting flyer with the Chevra’s logo, calling on the boys of the community to sign up.
- Create spreadsheets for the Chevra’s activities, which will be used to keep a record of the members who participated. (Some opportunities will be limited only to portions of the group.) Post notices periodically to publicize the various events in which the Chevra will be involved and the contributions it is scheduled to make.
- Submit updates on the Chevra’s activities, along with pictures, to school newspapers.
- Optional: Organize some of the boys in the Chevra themselves into committees that will plan activities and take charge of various aspects of the program. (Examples: a public relations committee responsible for write-ups, pictures, and videos; a fundraising committee to finance the Chevra’s activities, as well as to raise funds for the sweatshirts and trip; an emergency committee consisting of boys who are prepared to leap into action when the need for a chessed arises suddenly.)
- Aside from being involved in the larger chessed opportunities, every member of the Chevra should have an individual weekly commitment of their choosing. This may be a volunteer job in their shul, such as setting up for shalosh seudos, or a responsibility in their school, such as cleaning the yard. Since chessed begins at home, members should also commit to a weekly responsibility in their homes. These commitments should be recorded on the spreadsheets, and their accomplishments should be marked down on a weekly basis.
- Watch as the Chevra works its magic on your children and your community!