By Paris Morwood Franklin, 2012-13 member of Rose Youth Foundation
Most of my life I didn’t have a strong connection to Judaism. As I entered high school, I was looking for new things to explore. I wasn’t actively looking for a Jewish extracurricular activity, but when I heard about Rose Youth Foundation (RYF), it allowed me to be swept away on the journey of a lifetime.
Sitting around the boardroom table and being able to grant $60,000 in order to help others was the most rewarding experience I have ever had. As a group, we decided on three issues we felt affected those in the Greater Denver and Boulder community. I was far from an expert on anything related to teens being involved in Judaism, and that’s why our Jewish youth engagement priority stood out to me. We wanted to help keep teenagers involved in Judaism – something most of us had struggled with in our own lives.
While RYF was my only Jewish activity, after reading grant proposals and attending site visits for a few organizations, my eyes were opened. Not only did I get the chance to learn about other opportunities for Jewish teens, but RYF itself gave me a place to feel welcomed into the Jewish community. More importantly, RYF gave me the opportunity to help others I could relate to in more ways than I could have possibly imagined.
Rose Youth Foundation is a diverse group of 23 Jewish students in grades 10 through 12 who want to use their Jewish values and the tools of strategic philanthropy to make a real difference in our community.