Our partners across Greater Boston are helping us celebrate by hosting parties over the course of the year to recognize the hard work of our volunteers and the achievements of their students.

On Friday, January 27, student volunteers from the eighth-grade class at the Jewish Community Day School (JCDS) hosted a class of 3rd graders from the Jackson Mann Elementary school in Boston for the first official #GBJCL20 kick-off party!

This partnership is one of several with local Day Schools. Working with GBJCL, JCRC’s TELEM teens are matched with public schools students to read one-on-one and provide academic support.

The birthday party was the culmination of a brand new partnership between the two schools who have worked together over the last several months. The “reading buddies” sorted through books, colored bookmarks, munched on celebratory GBJCL20 birthday cake, and shared their favorite memories from the year-long adventure with their buddy. “I realized how much my buddy and I have in common. It’s fun to get to know her and know that we are so similar,” said one student. As part of his Bar Mitzvah Project, a student named Simeon rallied the JCDS students to collect more than 200 books to donate to the Brighton elementary school, and the project even enabled each Jackson Mann student to bring five books home with him or her.

The impact of the entire program is profound; “Oh my God, I’m going to cry!” said one JCDS 8th grader, who found a note that her buddy left her. “She wrote, ‘I’m going to miss you and will never forget you.’”

Dr. Susie Tanchel, head of JCDS, spoke highly of the collaboration between the two schools. “This program has broadened the (JCDS) students’ horizons,” she said.  “It has allowed them to see beyond what they have, and that they have an obligation to contribute to this world. That’s when you see the power of learning; when kids put it into action."

Thank you to TELEM for helping us launch our year of birthday parties last week! We encourage you to get involved in other GBJCL20 celebrations. Birthday parties are occurring throughout the spring at various schools and will culminate with JCRC Celebrates on May 24th in Newton. We hope to see you there!

Check out photos below from our first Birthday Party with Jackson Mann Elementary School at the Jewish Community Day School in Watertown.

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Back in November, JCRC Board member Lesley Inker and her son Alex visited GBJCL's Beethoven and Ohrenberger Schools in West Roxbury and donated 25 books in honor of Alex's fifth birthday.

“In our home, we start and end the day reading together," Lesley said.

"We love sharing the stories together and so for Alex's birthday, we thought it would be wonderful if Alex and his friends share books that they love with other children who might not yet know all of these stories. It was really special to see so many of the children at the school getting so excited about Jack and Annie and their travels to the time of the dinosaurs in the Magic Tree house!”

Thank you and happy birthday, Alex!

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