FLEMINGTON, NJ - With a crowd of both teens and their families in attendance, Chabad of Hunterdon County's Teen Network (CTeen) held its annual end-of-year award ceremony to celebrate and recognize a year of dedicated community work.
The ceremony was addressed by the Flemington Mayor Phil Greiner, who shared his encouragement and recognition for the teens' work.
"You start to learn skills that will help you for life. I can already see you’ve learned leadership skills, you can spot them real fast," the mayor said. "When I was your age I wasn’t involved in such volunteer work and community projects like you.”
A proclamation was signed by the Hunterdon County Freeholders in honor of the occasion.
"We introduced many more programs and events this year and I hope to continue that to even a bigger step with more members and more initiatives.” said Naomi Benenson, a junior at Voorhees High School and President of CTeen. "We’re all so proud of our accomplishments this year and we deserve a pat on the back, this coming year will be even greater”
This year CTeen initiated a new community program: Homework Helpers. Teen leader Zachary Mraz, a freshman at Hunterdon Central High Schhol, set up a weekly program on Thursdays from 4 to 6 p.m. at the youth lounge, where high school students volunteer their time to assist middle school students with their homework. The program continues and in addition to the homework help, younger students appreciate the friendship and mentorship they receive from the older students.
At the Presidents day brunch, the teens decorated and donated clothing for veterans. At a pre-Passover event, packages and school supplies were packed and hand delivered by the youth director to children in need in Mozambique, Africa. The younger teens took on community projects in honor of their Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations, including magic shows at a senior home and collecting sports equipment for local children in need. After the shootings in Parkland, Florida, CTeen of Hunterdon mailed hand written letters of support and condolence to fellow teens in that region.
"It’s inspiring to see young high school students who have a lot on their plate, and yet find the time to come together to make a difference in both the local community and beyond,” said Rabbi Eli Kornfeld, director of Chabad of Hunterdon. "Don’t underestimate the power of one good deed. You don’t know how much it impacts someone and changes their life. And it starts with great ideas, commitment and coming together."
Teen Awards 2018
Naomi Benenson of Tewksbury
Community Service Awards:
Zachary Mraz, Hunterdon Central High School, Flemington
Jared A. Kordonsky, Pingry School, Flemington
Michael A. Greenstein Hunterdon Central - Flemington
Max Esarco, Hunterdon Central High School, Flemington
Darin Michaels, Hunterdon Central High School, Flemington
Matthew Reich of North Hunterdon High School, Flemington
Jocelyn Pollack, Hunterdon Central High School, Lebanon
Leah Berlinger, Hunterdon Central High School, Whitehouse Station
Leah Harms, Hunterdon Central High School, Whitehouse Station
Derek Matarazzo – Del Val High School
Ian McDonald – Belvidere High School
Rachel Faucett,Hunterdon Central High School, Flemington
Cteen of Hunterdon County is a network of local Jewish teens geared towards providing a platform in which teenagers can learn and experience true leadership - a group run by teens for teens - and a forum to create community initiatives and do humanitarian work. The group, led by director Avraham Posner, has bi-weekly meetings, social gatherings, and fun educational workshops. CTeen has clubs at many high schools and is actively seeking additional schools that may be interested in starting their own clubs.
For more information about all CTeen programs email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 917-853-9718, or visit www.jewishhunterdon.com/cteen