On Tuesday nights, a group of teenagers visit their friends at the Simon C. Fireman Community senior housing complex in Randolph. The teens are part of the TELEM regional collaborative, a program that integrates volunteer service with classroom learning and reflection, enabling students to build meaningful relationships with their Jewish peer group as well as the broader community. TELEM is a program of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (JCRC) and is held at Temple Beth Emunah in Brockton.
Jared, a TELEM participant, says he gets as much from the program as he gives. “I’ve learned so much from the people I meet there. One senior told me about his career making dentures, and it was obvious he had so much pride in his work. I learned you don’t have to have a high paying job or a fancy lifestyle to be happy. All you need is to do something you love and have fun with it.”
A Magical Time
According to their teacher, Barbara Fine, both teens and seniors have had a ‘magical’ time. Whether they are playing Scrabble, sharing prom dress pictures, or simply talking, the connections they make with each other and members of the community are pretty special.
“Some of our students aren’t affiliated with the temple, but they want to be a part of TELEM,” says Barbara. “They start out in 8th grade, and they stick with it throughout high school. We don’t lose anybody—these kids want to be here.”