Blog  URJ Summer Program: What I Learned on Mitzvah Corps

URJ Summer Program: What I Learned on Mitzvah Corps

This past summer, a number of NFTY-MAR teens participated in a variety of URJ Summer Experiences. We asked a few teens to share with us a highlight of their experience and how their summer will help impact their year in NFTY. Below is a blog post, written by Dylan Davidoff, who participated in Mitzvah Corps: New Orleans

“Always leave something behind; not just a red flag.”

These wise words of Brock from Nola Green Roots has stuck with me ever since I stepped out of Wise Words garden. This past summer, I had the opportunity to go to New Orleans with the URJ Mitzvah Corps program. While there, we worked with 4 organizations: Global Green, cleaning out storm drains; Arc, organizing Mardi Gras beads; Youth Rebuilding New Orleans, working on building houses with local teens; and Nola Green Roots, taking apart a garden so it could be relocated.

While each organization was meaningful and amazing experience I will never forget my time at Wise Words Garden. 15 Jewish teens sweating in 100 degree weather came to a halt when Brock began his story. NFTY-MAR has always taught us to have a voice, and through Brock’s story I was able to find mine.

Brock’s story went like this: One day people kept getting lost, so, someone decided to help them not get lost. They would leave a red flag everywhere they went. Since so many people started putting red flags down, the people began to get lost again. They decided to ask the Native Americans how they were able to navigate themselves. They told the people that they would not leave their mark by leaving something materialistic, like a flag, but they would create their own moments that were personal to them to remember.

I stood there speechless as I processed how powerful my voice could be. No matter who you are or who you hope to be you have the ability to advocate for yourself, what you believe in and make your own mark. Big or small, all it takes is one person, one action, one voice to leave a mark.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr.Seuss

In NFTY-MAR, take the opportunity to go talk to that one person you would not usually talk to, say hello, ask them how they are doing because that one moment can leave the biggest mark you could ever imagine.