BTJ Cited for Excellence in Community Service

The Israel Ministry of Education has cited Boys Town Jerusalem High School as one of Israel’s most outstanding schools for Community Service efforts. The Ministry saluted BTJ students for “giving of themselves to help those in need throughout the school year with dedication and perseverance,” while praising BTJ for “imparting significant values to students and promoting social involvement.”

Students say the reward is in helping others

For the hundreds of BTJ students who have expanded the school’s Community Service program to record-breaking proportions, the national citation is not their greatest prize. “Our boys, who live and breathe volunteering, readily admit the huge rewards they gain from helping others,” says Avichai Charizi, legendary head of BTJ’s Community Service program. “They appreciate the help of generous BTJ donors, and are proud to give of themselves.”

Community service can be 20-30 hours per week

For the past three years, BTJ senior Hillel Neuhaus has devoted some 20-30 hours weekly to volunteering in the Israeli Fire Department. “I am able to save lives, and to protect Nature from damage,” he says proudly. “I’m grateful for the opportunity.” BTJ’s walls shine with vibrant posters saluting students’ volunteering efforts. Twice yearly, a schoolwide assembly saluting the top volunteers culminates weeks of suspense as to the winners.

Students volunteer even when it’s not compulsory

The ever-increasing Community Service arena now includes working with handicapped adults and children, the elderly, in special education frameworks, animal shelters, aiding the poverty- stricken, and more. While BTJ’s volunteering efforts begin at Grade 7, Community Service is compulsory for all Israeli students from Grades 10-12. “The difference is that our boys put in hundreds of hours beyond the required number,” Avichai Charizi notes. “You can see their zeal for helping others by the light in their eyes. Not just in ‘good’ students, but in boys struggling academically or socially. Volunteering is an amazing, empowering experience.