JUF : Springboard : Chicago Teens for Change (CTC)


Chicago Teens for Change (CTC)

Jewish Learning, Community Service and Leadership Development

Chicago Teens for Change (CTC) is an alternative spring break program run by Young Judaea that takes participants out of their everyday surroundings and immerses them in an entirely different environment. The new "community" formed in CTC, aims to engage in intensive community service, youth leadership development and experiential Jewish learning that is both enriching and transformative.

Program Highlights

  • Teen led program
  • Work on leadership skills
  • Volunteer in shelters, rebuilding projects, soup kitchens and more
  • Build and run a Social Change carnival for children
  • Fun night out in Chicago
  • Get community service credits and experience
Chicago (city and outlying suburbs)
Sunday, March 26- Thursday, March 30
Jewish Learning, Community Service and Leadership Development


What is Chicago Teens for Change?
CTC is a dynamic service-learning program that promotes social responsibility, volunteerism and the Jewish value of Tikun Olam (repairing the world). Participants can expect to spend 20-25 volunteer hours, which can vary from working at an elderly center to helping do light construction. CTC participants will also take part in an evening program each night to give a proper Jewish context to their experience or to better understand the community in which they are working, as well as have fun!  CTC is part of Springboard which is is a community initiative created with the support of JUF/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, the Jim Joseph Foundation and a consortium of local funders.

What is the cost of CTC and what am I paying for?

The heavily subsidized cost is $250 for all Chicago area Jewish teens. This will cover ALL program related expenses.

Who are the participants on CTC?
This program is open to all Chicago area Jewish 9th-11th  graders.

What kind of volunteering will we be doing?
We are working on building a variety of options that will include soup kitchens, community gardens, homeless shelters and more.  Participants should be ready to work!

How religious is the program?

Young Judaea is a religiously pluralist movement that welcomes those of all streams of Judaism. Jewish tradition is an important element in all of Young Judaea's programs and we strive to make each participant comfortable regardless of his or her background.
Young Judaea is not affiliated with any single religious movement, and all of these activities are conducted in a religiously pluralist environment. On most occasions, participants guide the religious practice.

 Are kosher meals served?
All participants will have access to fully kosher meals throughout CTC and therefore teens do not need to make other arrangements for the purposes of kashrut.  Should you feel that this does not meet your kashrut needs, please do not hesitate to contact us at winterbreak@youngjudaea.org to begin a discussion.  We ask that participants do not bring non-kosher items on the trip.

What is the staff to participant ratio?

There will be at least one Young Judaea staff member to every ten participants.

Who is the staff?
The staff is made up of young Jewish professionals and other informal educational experts.   All of the staff are camp professionals with years of experience. There will be two Israeli staff members as well.

What does a typical day of CTC  look like?
Here's a sample itinerary of what a day could look like:
7:30am                      Boker Tov (Wake up)
8:00                            Aruchat Boker (Breakfast)
8:30                            Depart for work site
9:30 - 12:30pm        Work project
12:30pm - 1:30        Aruchat Tsoharayim (Lunch) at the work site
1:30 - 5:00                Work Project
6:00                            Chofesh (free time)
7:00                            Aruchat Erev (Dinner)
8:00 - 10:00              Evening Group Activity (speaker, discussion, night out, games, bonding)
10:00 - 11:30            Chofesh (free time)
11:30pm                    Lailah Tov (Lights out)

Where will the participants stay?
Young Judaea has been working with Camp Henry Horner, a JCSY camp, for many years. Henry Horner is located in Ingleside, Il.

Can I communicate with my teen during the week?
Participants on CTC will constantly be taking part in structured programs. In order not to disrupt these programs, they will not be allowed to receive or make calls during programmed hours. In the event of family emergency or other issues, we ask that you contact the Young Judaea staff emergency cell phone number that will be provided in a future communication.
Additionally, we will have a daily blog and pictures posted of each day's events to showcase and inform what we are doing on the actual program. Please note that because of our uniquely remote location in the Navajo Nation, internet and cell phone service are much spottier and communication may be less frequent.

What do I do if I have other questions?

Don't hesitate to email us at winterbreak@youngjudaea.org or call us at (917) 595-2100 x209!