Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has told 150 young volunteers that performing good deeds is “not just a policy to have in life but rather something that genuinely flows from your hearts”.
Rabbi Mirvis was addressing the Yoni Jesner Awards for 11-13-year-olds, powered through JLGB’s evolve initiative.
The awards were established in memory of an enthusiastic Glaswegian volunteer killed in a Tel Aviv bus bombing in 2002 at the age of 19.
Through the scheme, more than 2,000 youngsters have contributed 25,000 hours of volunteering across the UK, with 17 schools and youth groups involved. Yoni’s twin nieces, Chloe and Leora Jesner, took part in the award this year.
Participants can digitally research youth-friendly volunteering opportunities in their locality which match their skills and interests. As they progress, they can record their volunteering experiences on evolve and complete other nationally recognised accreditations, such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
JCoSS pupil Darcy Jarvie said the project “has encouraged us to open our eyes and understand there are people in this world who are less fortunate than ourselves”.
Marsha Gladstone, Yoni Jesner’s mother, was proud to associate graduates with her son’s name.
“It’s a particularly meaningful year for us as a family, with Leora and Chloe being the first of my grandchildren to do the award.”
This year’s Yoni Jesner scholar is Rachel Cooklin. The award will enable the 18-year-old Yavneh College head girl to spend a year in Israel, before studying history at Birmingham University.