California Jewish teens have an opportunity to win $36,000 in recognition of their leadership efforts to better the world through the 4th annual Diller Tikkun Olam Awards.
The Helen Diller Family Foundation recognizes up to five self-identified Jews aged 13-19 who have distinguished themselves as leaders and have initiated community service projects that impact their communities. The winners can use the awards any way they choose, though most past recipients have used it to further their tikkun olam projects or for their education.
Last year’s Los Angeles winners were Eric Feldman of Palos Verdes Estates, who raised $40,000 in corporate sponsorship for jazz concerts he produced to sponsor seven orphans in Kenya, and Aaron Feuer, who as president of the California Association of Student Councils initiated and organized the first Los Angeles Youth Summit, doubled participation in the association’s leadership training programs, and helped bring issues before the State Board of Education that eventually resulted in legislation.
Past awardees include Fred Scarf of Sherman Oaks, a 2008 winner who founded the Shiri Foundation, in memory of his best friend, to promote research and awareness about osteosarcoma and to sponsor proms for kids who are suffering from chronic illnesses; Shelby Layne of Pacific Palisades, who was recognized in 2008 for making and selling jewelry to raise more than $30,000 to purchase solar cookers for women in Darfur; Shira Shane of Encino, a 2007 winner for creating Teens Against Genocide, which rallied high school students across Los Angeles to raise awareness about the Sudanese genocide; and Erich Sorger of Beverly Hills, who was awarded in 2007 for Dollars for Dwayne, a program that collects reusable items and donates them to the National Council of Jewish Women’s thrift shops.
Teens can nominate themselves or non-relatives, such as teachers, rabbis or community leaders, can nominate teens. Nominations are due Feb. 19th.