Mobilizing To Aid The Motor City

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Repair the World is recruiting for community fellows to mobilize volunteers in Detroit.

RTW GraphicRepair the World, a national organization that mobilizes the Jewish community to serve, is looking for passionate young adults who want to help improve the quality of life in Detroit through its Repair Communities initiative.

The initiative will build partnerships and resources to enable Jewish young adults and others to volunteer more frequently and with greater impact. As part of the initiative, Repair the World is looking for full-time community fellows age 21-26 to participate in a 10-month program beginning in October 2013.

Community fellows will live and serve in five pilot cities, including Detroit, and should be eager to explore how Jewish values, history and customs inform the responsibility for creating a better and more just world. Each fellow will receive a stipend of $600 per month as well as health insurance.

“We have been doing great work in Detroit for a few years,” said David Eisner, president and CEO of Repair the World. “We are ramping up and are looking to build a hub where we will expand our programs and deepen our partnerships with Jewish organizations.”

Eisner views fellows as the main drivers of the Repair Communities initiative. He envisions the fellows and volunteers doing anything from planting community gardens to helping contend with high truancy rates.

“We are creating a model where full-time energetic young people will spend all of their time learning, training and serving alongside volunteers,” Eisner said.

As the organizers, mobilizers and social entrepreneurs of the program, fellows will plan service projects and programs that address critical needs by working with key partners within and outside the Jewish community in different areas of focus.

“This initiative is a vehicle for the goodwill, passion and optimism people have for the city,” said Ben Falik, Repair the World’s Detroit director. “In Detroit, we will build on our current partnerships and work with Jewish and city organizations, with an emphasis on education. We’re also exploring potential in the environment, health, hunger and the arts fields.

“We want the Jewish community to leave a positive impact on Detroit — and for Detroit to have a positive impact on the Jewish community. This is the first year the initiative will be taking place in Detroit, where a combination of demographic and post-industrial factors have left many neighborhoods both in need and underserved,” Falik added.

“Repair the World has been working in Detroit, where the Jewish community has deep historical roots in the city and a strong track record of support for culture institutions and social service organizations.”

In addition to building partnerships and service opportunities for volunteers, the initiative will provide technical assistance and leadership development for the Jewish community. It will also create a mobilization hub — a center for the fellows and a place for volunteers to convene and collaborate.

“We are partnering with organizations that are doing deep and meaningful work. Our volunteers will feel how impactful their work is, which is extremely important,” Eisner said. “We hope the initiative will make a difference in Detroit and provide a means of helping Jewish young adults understand what it means to make the world a better place, which is fundamentally a Jewish ideal.”

Interested in repairing the world? Apply for the Repair Communities Fellows online at fellows.weRepair.org. One can also follow Repair the World on twitter @repairtheworld. 

By Leslie Spector|JN Intern

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