Fifteen Teens Receive $36,000 Each for Leadership

The Helen Diller Family Foundation is proud to announce the recipients of the 2014 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards. Fifteen young leaders in community service will each receive $36,000 in recognition of their outstanding leadership, innovation, and commitment to making the world a better place. Now in its eighth year, the program has granted almost $2 million to further the philanthropic visions and education of 55 Jewish teens who exemplify the spirit of tikkun olam.

Meet the 15 recipients of the 2014 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards:

  • Paige Alenick, 18, Woodcliff Lake, NJ: Donate A Toothbrush – an organization that collects toothbrushes for distribution worldwide to improve oral health in impoverished nations.
  • Tyler Barbee, 16, Mill Valley, CA: Challenger Baseball & Basketball – launches baseball and basketball-focused teams for children with special needs, helping them develop social skills, team skills, and greater independence.
  • Zach Certner, 18, Morristown, NJ: SNAP (Special Needs Athletic Programs) – a nonprofit that creates inclusion opportunities for children with special needs through sports and extracurricular programming.
  • Jonny Cohen, 19, Highland Park, IL: GreenShields – a project that designs and produces aerodynamic add-ons to enhance the fuel efficiency of school buses.
  • Morgan Davidson, 16, Woodland Hills, CA: Ambassadors for Hope Club – high school clubs that raise awareness about blood cancers through community blood drives, fundraisers for critical research, and bone marrow/stem cell donor recruitment.
  • Jacob Gardenswartz, 18, San Diego, CA: Theater Of Peace (TOP) – a teen theatre troupe that enlivens anti-bullying programs at schools with interactive performances, promoting acceptance and diversity.
  • Katie Hamelburg, 19, Potomac, MD: Operation 18,000 – an initiative that connects teens to meaningful volunteer opportunities and helps them measure, track and publicize their collective efforts.
  • Amanda Harris, 20, Atlanta, GA: Wear then Share – a project that empowers underprivileged children through dance and provides them with the dancewear they need to take center stage.
  • Maxine Harvey, 18, Methuen, MA: Debbie’s Treasure Chest – an organization that collects goods and raises funds to purchase and stock a warehouse full of toys, clothes and toiletries for families in need.
  • Yoni Kalin, 20, Washington, DC: Color My World (CMW) – a project that unites environmentally savvy teens to collect lightly used crayons and donate them to shelters, schools and refugee camps around the world.
  • Lillian Pravda, 14, New York, NY: Vision for and from Children (VFAFC) – an organization dedicated to giving children the gift of sight by supporting access to eye care, eye surgeries and vision-related services worldwide.
  • Adena Rochelson, 15, Fayetteville, NY: Operation Soap Dish – a project that collects and distributes everyday essentials such as toiletries and household cleaning products to financially challenged families.
  • Yaniv Sadka, 18, Beverly Hills, CA: Teens Curing Cancer (TCC) – a teen-driven organization that engages students in fundraising for pediatric cancer research labs while educating the community on childhood cancers.
  • Joshua Toch, 17, Morgan Hill, CA: Mind Before Mouth (MBM) – a club that builds collective strength among students facing personal challenges and bullying through the power of public speaking.
  • Samantha Vinik, 17, Millburn, NJ: iTold4 – a project that trains teens to educate younger students and their peers on hearing loss risk factors and ways to prevent noise-induced hearing loss.

"The Foundation believes that supporting Jewish teens today creates future generations of strong Jewish leaders. These teens are not only our future, they are also passionate and creative, and will bring innovation and inspiration to the global Jewish community," said Helen Diller, President of the Helen Diller Family Foundation. "We're so proud of these 15 young visionaries whose projects are making a lasting impact on their communities and their peers. These teens truly bring the spirit of tikkun olam to life in meaningful ways."

A celebratory luncheon honoring the teens will be held in San Francisco on Monday, August 25, 2014.

The Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards program was founded, and continues to be funded, by the Helen Diller Family Foundation, a supporting foundation of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund.

Read more about the 2014 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award recipients and their projects.

Read the full press release here.

Categories: Awards, Endowment


July 08, 2014


Amanda Cohen