Stepping up to repair the world

As images spread across the world on Martin Luther King Jr. Day of President Barack Obama engaging in community service, I couldn’t help but think of the remarkable acts of service engaged in by members of the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam community. Hard work, dedication, and compassion for others are apparent not only in the projects of the winners of the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award but in each nominee. As I look throughout the world I can’t help but consider that it is our generation that will either find peaceful ways for nations to resolve their differences or face a nuclear war. We will find solutions to climate change and global warming, or we will experience the greatest environmental catastrophe of all time. We will use technology to either enhance our freedoms or to diminish them. We will find an answer to the global economic crisis and prepare our generation for the enormous debt being placed on our shoulders or we will experience the greatest depression in the history of humankind. One thing is clear: somebody will make these decisions. The question is will you be the one to speak out and take action? Or will you stand idly by in silence? It is as though all of human history was a test run for this moment and this time it counts. In our time, we will decide our future. All of us must step up to a greater level than ever before because it is on us; the future of the world is on our shoulders. Of all the successful people in the world, one common characteristic each one has is the ability to take action. When no one else is able to, we show up, just as the winners and nominees of the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards do every day. It is in that spirit and with that presence that I wanted to take a moment today, as we welcome our new president, to truly acknowledge the members of the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam community for their service to others. Not only for the results they’ve created through their community service projects, but also for their integrity and humbleness with which they contribute to the world. It is with their light and their vibrancy that this world will turn the corner and we will reach the goals and aspirations President Obama outlined in his inauguration address. These are the youth who will actualize the dreams of our nation, and I’d like to acknowledge Helen Diller and the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award Selection Committee for recognizing and supporting their work. - by Justin Sachs

Justin was honored as a Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award recipient in 2007 for his work in founding The Tikkun Project and PeakPerformance Lifestyles Foundation. Since then, he has written his first book, Your Mailbox Is Full,  focused on empowering teens. Each year up to five deserving teens are awarded $36,000 each for community service and for demonstrating outstanding leadership and commitment to improving the world around them. The Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards seek to recognize teens who are exceptional role models in their communities and beyond. These awards can be directed toward the recipient’s college education or toward furthering his/her tikkun olam vision. The next nomination deadline is February 17, 2009.




January 23, 2009


The Federation