On April 28, Sarit Katz (Central), Raffi Weil (MTA), and Noyah Shebshaievitz (Yeshivah of Flatbush), the co-chairs of Shalom Task Force’s Young Leadership Outreach Committee, were awarded the prestigious 2022 Youth Impact Award by the NYC Mayoral Service Recognition Program. This annual citywide celebration of volunteers and service members recognizes efforts to build solutions in response to community challenges and residents’ most urgent needs. NYC Service received more than 200 nominations for the four awards categories. The awardees completed service projects in 2021 that directly impacted communities hit hardest by the pandemic and were selected for excellence in building community through service.
Noyah, Sarit, and Raffi first started volunteering for Shalom Task Force (STF) as part of the Purple Fellowship, the first leadership development program of its kind to empower Jewish high school students in ending domestic violence. The fellowship culminates in students planning a “Go Purple Day” at each school to promote domestic violence awareness.
In January 2021, STF founded the inaugural Youth Board, an opportunity for fellowship graduates to serve as continuing ambassadors at their schools and named Sarit, Raffi, and Noyah outreach chairs for the Board. The unique Youth Board model also emphasizes peer mentorship, as teens from across the country support one another in their leadership efforts.
As a part of their work with the board, Sarit, Raffi, and Noyah developed Purple Clubs in their respective high schools. Throughout 2021, over 150 New York City high school students signed up for Purple Clubs at their schools to combat domestic violence and to help eradicate the stigma around these topics within the Jewish Community. Nationally, ten schools launched a Purple Club this past school year. “Throughout the past year, I and the other members of the outreach board have dedicated an immense amount of time and effort towards educating other teens on the topic of domestic abuse and violence. Education is the first step to prevention,” said Sarit Katz during her acceptance speech.
Dr. Shana Frydman, Executive Director of STF, shared that “it is so inspiring that our youth are taking leadership in combating domestic violence; it instills hope for a safer future.” Added Jeffrey Younger, Director of Communications for STF, “The work that Raffi, Noyah, and Sarit – along with all of our student leaders – have accomplished has been amazing to see and has helped us to continue to create a supportive community.”
This has been a record-breaking year for Shalom Task Force youth initiatives. In February, 64 Purple Fellows from 25 Schools planned Go Purple Day at schools across ten states and Canada. Close to 9,000 students participated in the day to promote healthy relationships and raise awareness about domestic abuse in the Jewish Community.
Additionally, in February, Shalom Task Force launched Future Community Leaders: A Shalom Task Force Chesed Initiative, a new all girls high school leadership program to foster leadership skills while gaining a deeper understanding of what defines healthy and unhealthy relationships. The first cohort consisted of 18 students from five schools across four states. Our students are currently planning awareness programs for their schools and will be hosting them throughout May.
If you or your loved one has questions or concerns about relationships or are currently in an unhealthy or abusive relationship – we are here for you. Please call, text, or WhatsApp the confidential Shalom Task Force Hotline at 888-883-2323 or chat with a live advocate at www.shalomtaskforce.org.