Changing Lives Today

For over 100 years, Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles (JBBBSLA) has helped youth reach their full potential. It provides children with one-to-one mentoring, low-cost overnight camp, free social and emotional peer support through the “Teen Talk App,” and college guidance counseling and scholarships.
Mentoring – Meet Nic
    JBBBSLA provides professionally supported, free one-to-one mentoring for Jewish youth who could benefit from an additional, committed and positive adult role model in their life.
    Meet one of our Littles, Nic.
    Nic is a highly gifted 14-year-old and he’s been very isolated during the pandemic because his mother and sister both have serious medical risks. His enrichment activities have been curtailed and he is craving both stimulation and guidance.
    Nic’s dream is to be the CEO of a health insurance company so he can help people like his mom and sister. When prospective Big Brother David told us he related fully to Nic’s profile and had a pretend “office” in his own bedroom as a teen, we suspected a special connection might be made, and it was.
    They video-chat for hours about theoretical concepts, science fiction and the news. But it is not all serious. Nic became David’s consultant in selecting a kitten from a local shelter and they agreed on finding the cat most in need, which they did. Nic had the honor of naming her, and now they look forward to the day Nic and kitty can meet in person!
    Not only can a mentor have a profound impact on a child’s growth and success, but the effect on the mentors themselves can also be significant. Whether a match lasts a year or a lifetime, mentoring makes a big difference for both our Bigs and Littles.  
Camp Bob Waldorf – Meet Adrian
    Owned and operated by Jewish Big Brother Big Sisters of Los Angeles since 1938 and inspired by Jewish values to help others, Camp Bob Waldorf is a non-denominational residential camp located on 112 acres in the Verdugo Mountains of Glendale. 
    Meet Adrian, a camper at Camp Bob Waldorf. Adrian is 9 years old and he attended Camp Bob Waldorf for the first time this past summer. Asked about his experience, Adrian shared: “I’ve been sitting home all day on my computer with nothing to do until this day. Coming to camp changed my life. This camp is a perfect place. There’s a pool, a cafeteria and even a stage where you can do fun and silly games.”
    Over 800 campers attend camp each summer. Camp Bob Waldorf is uniquely positioned to alleviate the stress our campers face and provide a safe, inspiring environment. The life lessons learned, and relationships formed are invaluable and help circumvent the potential for our children and teens to become involved in gangs, drugs, violence and other destructive behaviors.
    Camp Bob Waldorf has helped more than 60,000 underserved children, offering youth development activities through the transformative power of camp.
Teen Talk App – Teens Supporting Teens
    Many teens are in crisis. Navigating the teenage years has never been harder than it is today. Between a socially isolating pandemic, Facebook computer algorithms that harm teens, and the constant pressures of school, family, peers and life – teens are floundering all around us. Introduced in 2018, the Teen Talk App creates a positive space for teens who feel they have nowhere else to go. Teens access the app from any smartphone and engage and connect with peers who are trained in supportive techniques that help teens cope with the challenges of today.
    Over 35,000 teens have downloaded Teen Talk App and more than 150 users post on it every day. The positive interaction teens have with a peer is often the first step for a young person seeking help. Teen Advisors guide teens to find real life support while offering hope and the critical reminder that they are not alone.
    The Teen Talk App is free and available to download on iOS and Android devices for teens ages 13-19.
College Access and Success – Meet Heiddy
    Providing access to college for high school students is the goal of The Erwin Rautenberg College Guidance Program. Every year, over 50 students receive individual counseling support to improve their access to higher education. College scholarships, coaching and peer networks help to ensure that students complete college.
    Heiddy is a first-year student at UC Berkeley who received an Arnold S. Nelson Scholarship this year. In her acceptance speech she shared: “I am Heiddy, a Chicana from Central Los Angeles, and the child of immigrants, the outcome of two people fleeing their country in hopes of a better tomorrow. I am the second daughter to graduate from high school and the first to make it into the UC system. This scholarship allows me to be able to comfortably navigate college without the worry of how much I might have to give up to be able to pay for a higher education. Even though I am just a 17-year-old going into her first year of college, I promise to be the change I hope to see in this world.”
    JBBBSLA has awarded over $2 million in college scholarships to hundreds of students since 1990. Each scholarship program for former Littles and campers provides financial assistance to students who have demonstrated financial need and leadership qualities.   


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