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Seniors Volunteer at Overtown Youth Center

This past Tuesday, the senior class went to the Overtown Youth Center (OYC) to volunteer for a school-wide chesed day. Students teamed up with teens from the center to feed the homeless.  

“My favorite part was just being with the kids from other schools and seeing how much of a difference we can all make,” said Florencia Chami (12th grade).

The OYC acts as an after school community center for kids in Overtown, offering educational and physical activities to help children grow and become upstanding citizens. Hebrew Academy students teamed up with teens from the youth center to make lunches for the homeless. The volunteers made  peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches,  added a few snacks and packed it up in brown paper bags. They also wrote inspirational notes to attach to the lunch bags. Seniors were paired up with kids from the OYC and walked through the neighborhood passing out the lunches to the large population of homeless people on the streets.

As students walked around the neighborhood they noticed disheveled homes and groups of homeless people sitting and lying on the streets. When volunteers approached the homeless, they were greeted with smiles and words of gratitude. One homeless man said the lunch would be the only food he ate that day.

“It was just amazing seeing the homeless people’s faces light up,” said Barby Mohadeb (12th). 

After handing out  lunches, the group returned to the youth center to reflect on their day. Hebrew Academy students mingled with the teens from the youth center, and many formed connections, exchanging contact information and planning to stay in touch.

Teens at the youth center expressed excitement about meeting the Hebrew Academy students and volunteering with them. A youth leader discussed the reason for her involvement.

“We do it out of the kindness of our heart because at one point in time some of the kids that go here, their parents were homeless and they didn’t have the income,” said Bakayla, a student at SLAM (Sports Leadership and Management) High School and OYC youth leader. “Now that G-d has blessed them with all these amazing things it’s very humbling to come back and see that what we do for the community is the same blessings that G-d gave us. It’s just a blessing.”

By: Avi Stein (12th grade)

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