Mitzvah Day Impact Report Digital version 26th June - Page 27



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Mitzvah Day
Impact Report 2008 – 2018
Focus on…Youth
FOCUS ON YOUTH
CASE STUDY:
Mitzvah Day Active
One of the best things about Mitzvah Day is seeing
so many young people getting involved, inspired
by Jewish values, to help others in society.
W
e start them young with
our ‘Mitzvah Mummies’
projects, where mums
(and dads) bring their
babies and toddlers
to visit a care home or
day centre. The older generation love to
see young children and babies, and this is
a fantastic cross-generational project –
always resulting in lots of laughter, singing
and storytelling. As children start primary
school and cheder (Sunday School), there
are lots more opportunities for them to get
involved. Mitzvah Day provides a chance
for schools and chederim to launch or
develop social action programmes, build or
extend relationships with charities, engage
students and receive recognition from local
media and politicians.
We’ve seen school pupils do everything
from collectathons and bake-offs through
to card making and care home visits, all
supporting their local community and
society as a whole. As secondary school
beckons, it gives our young volunteers
a chance to really start cementing their
Jewish values and belief in social justice.
Our secondary school projects are often
Mitzvah Day
Impact Report 2008 – 2018
Focus on…Youth
made more special as Jewish pupils
share these values with their peers of all
faiths and none. Whether taking place
in a secular school, or seeing Jewish
schools unite with their local Christian or
Muslim counterparts, it’s encouraging to
see the youngest members of our faith
communities showing that what unites
us is so much stronger than that
which divides.
The Scouts and Guides as well as Jewish
youth movements are also involved with
Mitzvah Day, with every major youth group
and organisation in the UK taking part.
We’ve seen madrichim (leaders) decorating
cakes for elderly care home residents
alongside MPs in the Houses of Parliament,
and a nationwide project from JLGB with
600 of its members making ‘welcome’ cards
for refugees and a youth movement blood
drive in Israel attended by the
British Ambassador.
Involvement continues in higher education
with Jewish societies at many of Britain’s
major universities taking part in projects,
often alongside the other faith societies
on campus – breaking down barriers and
showing the values we all share.
Our Mitzvah Day Active initiative means
we continue to engage young Jewish
people into adulthood and keep them
connected to their Judaism – especially
in an age of decreasing membership of
traditional organisations.
Mitzvah Day Active Coordinator, Rob
Sher recalls first hearing Mitzvah Day’s
founder Laura Marks OBE speaking at
an event he attended years ago about
volunteering where Laura stressed
that “time is as valuable a currency
as money”. Inspired by this message,
Rob has set up the Six Sundays project
enabling volunteers to sign up to
volunteer an hour a month visiting a
resident at a Jewish Care home.
“Like many, I had been involved in
fundraising for Jewish Care but had
never walked through its doors. You build
relationships with residents. They become
mentors to the volunteers and for the
residents, it can make someone’s week by
doing an activity or having a conversation
with a volunteer”.
Mitzvah Day Active is an opportunity for
young adults to get involved in hands-on
social action, while catching up with old
friends and making new ones. We look
for group leaders to get together some
friends to take part, and then help them
organise everything they need – even
matching small groups together to form
larger ones. So from birth onwards, there
is a Mitzvah Day for everyone.
External Evaluation
Key Finding:
Increase in the effectiveness,
sustainability and power of
charitable and voluntary work
91%
The number of people who would
like to be involved in Mitzvah Day
again. The evaluation found that
this contributes to the sustainability
of Mitzvah Day, as well as being
a recognition of the levels of
enjoyment and satisfaction that
participants have taken from being
involved in the programme.





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