In bustling New York City, where opportunities abound, it’s heartening to witness individuals coming together to make a tangible impact on the lives of others. An ongoing chessed effort spearheaded by Rabbi Elie Buechler, JLIC Director at Columbia/Barnard, and Jonny Rosen, Vice President of Chessed on the Yavneh Student Board, has been making waves in the community. This initiative involves 20 dedicated JLIC students from Columbia and Barnard who have committed themselves to tutor children for 18 weekly sessions at Harlem Link Charter School in NYC.

Every week, Monday through Thursday, these JLIC students step into the classrooms at Harlem Link Charter School, armed not just with textbooks and lesson plans, but with an abundance of enthusiasm and compassion. Their mission? To support and nurture young minds, primarily focusing on subjects like math, science, and English. The students they work with range from kindergarten to fifth grade, with a majority falling within the first and second grade levels.

JLIC students from Columbia tutoring kids as part of their chesed program

The impact of this initiative has been twofold: it has brought about positive change within the JLIC community and has significantly benefited the children at Harlem Link Charter School.

Within the JLIC community, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. The students from Columbia and Barnard who have participated in this program thus far have found the experience deeply rewarding. Their enthusiasm and dedication have sparked the interest of additional students who are now eager to join the initiative, further expanding the reach of this impactful endeavor. This demonstrates the power of leading by example and underscores the potential for collective action to inspire others to get involved in acts of kindness and service.

Jonny Rosen - JLIC Student at Columbia University

“Students should be motivated to take the lead in building our community by volunteering and engaging in community service. It is essential that students be empowered to take the initiative and build a thriving community by being active volunteers in their local community.” – Jonny Rosen, VP of Chesed for Yavneh at Columbia University.

The true measure of the success of this initiative lies in the impact it has had on the children at Harlem Link Charter School. Through the dedicated efforts of the JLIC students, every child in need of tutoring has been paired with a caring mentor. Beyond just academic support, these students are receiving something invaluable: individualized attention and encouragement that fosters a sense of confidence and self-belief. For many of these young learners, facing academic challenges may seem daunting, but having a supportive mentor by their side can make all the difference in their journey toward success.

JLIC students from Columbia tutoring kids as part of their chesed program

The presence of the JLIC students in the classrooms at Harlem Link Charter School serves as a powerful reminder of the interconnectedness of communities. It highlights the importance of reaching across boundaries—whether they be cultural, religious, or socioeconomic—to uplift and empower one another. In a city as diverse as New York, initiatives like this one bridge divides and foster a sense of collective responsibility for the well-being of all members of society.

As this chessed effort continues to unfold, it serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration, reminding us of the transformative power of small acts of kindness and the profound impact they can have on individuals and communities alike. Through their dedication, compassion, and unwavering commitment to making a difference, the JLIC students at Columbia and Barnard exemplify the true essence of service and embody the values of tikkun olam—repairing the world—one tutoring session at a time.

Reach out to any of our Directors to learn more about JLIC and our programming.

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