Diller Teen Fellows enter the Shark Tank

November 16, 2017 by Hayley Hadassin
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Australian graduates of the Diller Teen Fellows program recently presented their final impact projects ‘Shark Tank Style’ to a panel of professionals.

Diller Teens

The Diller Teen Fellows program is a world renowned leadership development initiative that creates an international network of Jewish teenagers to serve as effective leaders. It is a program that the Zionist Federation of Australia is proud to run in Australia.

The talented Melbourne Diller Teen Fellows from our 2017 cohort developed projects to engage with and contribute to a range of social issues.

For example, ; Project Achdut, will create a new pre- barmitzvah program in for children with little Jewish engagement, run by the Diller “near peers”; another initiative is designed to support the siblings of children with chronic illnesses, working together with the Little Dreamers organization. Two groups are catering to the elderly in the community: The Altermenschen project will record and broadcast short interviews with elderly community members on podcasts, giving them a new voice in the community to new audiences. Another project, in partnership with CCare, will arrange a cook-off – preparing and delivering food to elderly people in need. One group chose to focus on injured Israeli soldiers and victims of terror, raising funds and awareness for Beit Halochem by creating and selling bracelets with quotes from injured soldiers.

Ella Benary-Belfer from King David School believes: – “Impact projects are a great opportunity to create something on a topic that we are passionate about. We are provided the skills and resources to create this project and receive feedback from successful people in our community”

It was a great afternoon which gave the Fellows an opportunity to present the rationale behind their projects, why they felt their project was necessary and how they intended to implement them. They pitched to sharks Gary Samowitz, Dean Cohen, Elana Lewin and ZFA Executive Director, Ginette Searle all of whom remarked how inspired they were by the ideas, the motivation and the passion of the Diller Teen Fellows.

Ginette Searle said: – “The Diller teen impact project presentations were a fabulous display of how the fellows have developed skills and embraced the principles of tikkun olam and community unity that the Diller program promotes. As a “shark”, it was hard to find fault with the creative ideas, the enthusiasm and of course the genuine desire of the teens to add value to people in our community with various needs – from the elderly, to young carers, to the homeless. I really look forward to seeing the projects in action.”

The Diller Teen Fellows program was established in San Francisco in 1997 by the Helen Diller Family Foundation, a supporting foundation of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund. The first cohort of the program began its activity in San Francisco in January 1998. Since then, the program has expanded to include 32 participating communities across the U.S., Canada, South Africa, Australia, South America, Europe and Israel.

This program aims to upskill Jewish leaders of the future and give them the tools and mentorship to truly make a difference

Dean Cohen, Flying Fox: – “It’s amazing to see kids in our community being empowered to take ownership over the causes that they feel passionate about.”

For further information contact Jacqui Cohen dillertf@zfa.com.au.

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