HRH The Prince of Wales spent the morning at Yavneh College in Hertfordshire on a visit designed to showcase the phenomenal amount of social action taking place at the school and across the community. The Jewish Lads’ and Girls’ Brigade (JLGB) is proud that Yavneh College is a flagship partner school running the entire suite of JLGB social action programmes and awards across school years 7-13.
The day highlighted the social action undertaken by hundreds of pupils at the school, both inside and outside the classroom, through its strong partnership with the JLGB, which works alongside the school to provide an age-progressive framework of national volunteering awards. His Royal Highness was able to meet Yavneh award recipients from these JLGB programmes, including the Yoni Jesner Award, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and National Citizen Service as well as meeting members of local JLGB groups in Hertfordshire.
Lord Levy and JLGB #iwill Ambassador, Shera Conway, aged 18 from Radlett Hertfordshire, presented a display of activities to His Royal Highness, giving him a flavour of what it means to be a JLGB member. In order to create well rounded and active citizens, all JLGB groups around the country follow six key life-enhancing principles, which teach transferable skills relevant to modern society, including Digital Skills, Leadership Development and Social & Emotional Wellbeing.
The display particularly focussed on British citizenship and Jewish identity and how these traditions and values intertwine seamlessly to create proud British Jewish ambassadors and role models. This was showcased when Leslie Sutton Legion d’Honneur, 92 year old British Jew who served in the RAF and landed on Omaha Beach during the Normandy Landings, shared his story with JLGB leaders during the visit. JLGB’s young Israeli Emissary, Shir Talmor, also taught cultural activities about the relationship between British and Hebrew words.
A new JLGB band, in collaboration with Yavneh’s music department, was also formed to mark the event, which will continue to teach woodwind, brass and percussion instruments to young people across Hertfordshire, funded by Youth United. The band, which was formed only a matter of weeks ago, performed for the first time at the event – no mean feat in front a member of the Royal family.
JLGB were delighted to be joined on the day by other dignitaries including the Chief Rabbi, the President and Trustees of Yavneh College, Lindsay Levkoff Lynn, Chief Executive Youth United Foundation, Sir Nick Parker, Chair Step Up to Serve, Charlotte Hill, Chief Executive Step Up to Serve and Dame Julia Cleverdon, Founder Step Up to Serve.
The Lord Levy said:
"We were honoured that HRH the Prince of Wales visited Yavneh College today to see how our Jewish youngsters, through JLGB, are giving back to society through social action both inside and outside of the classroom. As President of the JLGB, I am extremely proud of everything JLGB does across all its local groups across and through the strong partnerships it has with all Jewish Schools across the country, to make social action accessible to young people of faith, especially at a time of so much uncertainty around the world. I simply cannot think of any better message and no better organisation than the JLGB that shows both our own community and wider society how you can be proud to be British and proud to be Jewish. JLGB gives young people the tools and skills they need to navigate a digital and global world, empowering them to become the innovative leaders of tomorrow who in turn then give back to society with abundance."
The Chief Rabbi said:
“I was proud to launch JLGB’s ‘evolve – young volunteering initiative’ just 3 years ago when I first became Chief Rabbi. To know that since then, over 6,000 Jewish young people have taken part in social action awards and character building programmes is truly remarkable. Today I saw this first hand through the wonderful partnership between Yavneh and JLGB, where hundreds of young people take part each year in the Yoni Jesner Award, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and National Citizen Service.”
Neil Martin OBE, JLGB Chief Executive said:
"Today has been a landmark day for Yavneh College and JLGB with HRH The Prince of Wales learning about the thousands of hours of social action undertaken by the youth of the Jewish community. All of JLGB’s character building opportunities ensure the religious and cultural requirements of our community are taken care of enabling Jewish young people to take a full and active part in British society through our age progressive journey of national awards including DofE, NCS, Vinspired and the Yoni Jesner Awards. None of this would be possible were it not for the invaluable contributions of our volunteers, professionals, partner schools and supporters the Pears Foundation and the Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation who fund our youth social action programmes."
Shera Conway, from Radlett Hertfordshire and JLGB's #iWill Youth Ambassador said:
"As JLGBs #iWill Ambassador, I was proud to have been given the honour to escort HRH andintroduce him to many of our young people and volunteers as he saw all the amazing activities that JLGB organise. JLGB is doing so much for the youth of today and helps us to give back to the world. Today was about young people and was led by young people with the support of JLGB adult volunteers and professionals - youth empowerment at its best!"