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Record Breaking Number of Young People Expected to Honour Yoni Jesner’s Memory in 15th Anniversary Year

An incredible 5,500 hours were volunteered by 11-13 year olds last year as part of the Yoni Jesner Award. The Award is powered by JLGB, in partnership with the Yoni Jesner Foundation, to honour the memory of Yoni Jesner, a passionate volunteer from Glasgow who was tragically killed in a bus bomb in Tel Aviv in 2002, at just 19 years of age. By challenging 11-13 year olds to give just 20 or 50 hours of their time volunteering in their communities, the award immortalises the values that Yoni lived by and steers young people to a life of giving back to others. This year, to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Yoni’s death, JLGB are committed to enrolling a record breaking number of young people to take part in over 6,500 hours of volunteering.

JLGB’s dedicated team together with Yoni’s mother, Marsha Gladstone, will be delivering inspirational assemblies to launch the award at Jewish secondary schools across the country. This year JLGB will be encouraging students to go the extra mile and challenge themselves to the 50 hour plus award to mark 15 years since Yoni’s death. Yoni wrote many aphorisms such as the one below and the Yoni Jesner Award is helping to keep his beliefs and legacy alive.

“If you find it difficult to motivate yourself to do something useful then ask yourself the following questions: At the end of the week what will I have accomplished? Will I have watched T.V. or will I have watched my actions? Will I have changed my hairstyle or will I have changed someone’s life? Will I have shared gossip or will I have shared knowledge? Will I have spent money on kids or will I have spent time with them?”

As this October marks 15 years since Yoni’s death, it is especially poignant that Yoni’s twin nieces, Chloe and Leora Jesner, the first in the next generation of Jesners, participated in the award last year. Following in their uncle’s footsteps both girls went the extra mile completing not only the 20 hour award but also the 50 hour plus award.

The award is completed through evolve, JLGB’s youth volunteering and skills initiative, which enables young people to find meaningful volunteering opportunities in their area that match their individual skills and interests. With hundreds of volunteering placements encompassing a diverse range of opportunities there is something for everyone. Award participants can also log volunteering hours from opportunities not on evolve by manually inputting them onto their account so that they gain the recognition they deserve. Through evolve, young people can log their hours and track how close they are to completing the award. By volunteering just one hour week, taking part in this award helps young people develop new skills that will serve them for life and more importantly appreciate the importance of social action and being active members of society.

Last year, JCoSS student, Maya, completed her Award volunteering monthly at the New North London Synagogue’s Asylum Seeker’s Drop In. She described feeling empowerment at being able to help, calling her volunteering experience “a privilege”. Likening her volunteering experience to that feeling of giving someone a present, Maya explains that it feels better to give one than to get one, “It made me feel really good that I was helping lots of people”.

Maya’s experience is echoed in the thousands who have completed their award in the 15 years since Yoni’s death, doing something they love for a cause they are passionate about. Whether volunteering occurs in school, at a local charity or at a one off event, the Yoni Jesner Award is a remarkable achievement which continually inspires young people to do more for other people.

If your child is aged 11-13 they can sign up to participate in the Yoni Jesner Award here. For more information please email volunteering@jlgb.org or call 020 8989 8990.

This Rosh Hashanah, make your pledge to Yoni’s memory. Donate to the Yoni Jesner Award by visiting www.jlgb.org/donateyonijesner or text ‘JLGB11 £10’ to 70070 and enable thousands more young people to channel Yoni’s ambition and make a positive impact in society.

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