Youth Making a Difference

Aired 2003-04. Every generation worries about their teenagers and young people. However, today's teens are signing up in record numbers to feed the poor, help the elderly, build homes for the needy and assist youngsters both here and in foreign lands. Youth Making A Difference visited Muslim teenagers helping at Elijah's Promise-Soup Kitchen. These youngsters belonged to the Islamic Society of Central New Jersey, led by Imam Hamad Ahmad Chebli, the religious director. The Rev. Lisanne Finston, a Presbyterian, was executive director of Elijah's Promise. At Iona, a small Catholic college in the New York City suburb of New Rochelle, there were more than 300 volunteers coordinated in their efforts by Katie Byrnes. Students worked side-by-side with alumni, faculty families and community members to help improve the lives of those in substandard housing or with other local needs. High school and college students at the Bedford Presbyterian Church, directed by Rev. Paul Acorn, went to Hurley, VA, to relieve some of Appalachia's poverty and also work with Bridges to Community, led by Rev. Carter Via, the executive director, to bring volunteers to bear on poverty in many towns in Nicaragua. Jewish high school students in New Jersey spent six weeks one summer working with emotionally, physically and mentally challenged children at a day camp. They also worked with inner-city children and adults in a soup kitchen and went to Washington to lobby congressman about their concerns. In addition to profiling the students, Youth Making A Difference also highlighted the efforts of Rabbi Randi Musnitsky, regional director, and Amy Nissim, director of youth activities for Urban Mitzvah Corps, part of the Garden Empire Region of the North American Federation of Temple Youth (UAHC). The broadcast showed how these and many of our youngsters learn and grow in service to others and return as college students and young adults to continue their service and giving back to others. No gesture is too small, as was shown by Blake Bartko, a 10-year-old Mt. Kisco boy who decided to throw birthday parties and give gifts to poor children who are often deprived of such common important celebrations of life. CBS network air date: Sunday, December 14, 2003.