Jewish Federation is proud to partner with and support Jewish organizations that help children, teens and families stay active and engaged in Jewish life. One such organization is BBYO, a pluralist Jewish youth movement with chapters across North America and more than 60 countries around the world.
The KC BBYO chapter has more than 200 high school students involved and offers a range of programs to them including social, Judaic, volunteer-based, social action, and sports activities. In addition, the BBYO Connect program for 6th-8th graders hosts monthly social events that engage 40-50 kids.
Currently, these programs and events have all gone virtual. The KC BBYO chapter and BBYO as a whole have created some innovative initiatives to make sure teens stay connected during this time of social distancing. The KC chapter has virtually hosted a J-Serve program, Spring Convention and Council elections.
Regional BBYO Director Annie Rifkin says that while she and volunteer advisors, who serve as mentors to the teens, help them develop local programming, the teens are really the ones in charge.
“The teens are the leaders, the creators, the planners. That’s the most unique thing about us and it’s what the teens say they get the most out of from it,” Rifkin said.
Nationally, BBYO launched BBYO OnDemand. Dubbed a “Jewish Netflix,” it offers interactive online experiences and programs for teens, alumni and parents, including exclusive concerts and performances from Broadway stars. There's also the option to join the BBYO OnDemand Fan Club, with all proceeds directly supporting local BBYO chapters.
These programs have kept spirits up and built community across BBYO's global Jewish movement. In these difficult times, BBYO continues to connect Jewish teens around the world to share ideas, explore leadership skills, make the world a better place — and have fun doing it.