NCSY Relief Missions are transformative volunteer experiences that empower teens to make an impact and contribute to something bigger than themselves.
Through these relief missions, teens gain a new perspective, connect to the Jewish value of tikkun olam (repairing the world), and experience a newfound desire to help those in need by being taken out of their comfort zone and placed on the front lines in the aftermath of natural disasters.
These life-changing missions are the most effective forms of leadership training. Beyond the rigorous pre-trip training, teens learn to comfort those suffering from disasters not only physically, but also emotionally and spiritually. They return forever changed, with the confidence and drive to take leadership roles in their own communities and around the world.
NCSY’s first relief mission dates back to 2005, after Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana. Since then, NCSY has run more than one hundred missions, with more than 1,500 students volunteering in disaster-stricken areas in Minnesota, North Carolina, and Texas. In 2017, NCSY teens were on the first flight to Houston after Hurricane Harvey. Today, NCSY’s Ready Teams –– teens who have been trained and prepared to deploy on short notice –– are often the go-to resource for many relief organizations including Habitat for Humanity and Repair The World.
We envision a future in which relief missions become an integral part of all Jewish day school curriculums, serving as the principal training ground for the next generation of Jewish community leaders. This coming year, NCSY Relief Missions will expand from twenty to thirty missions, broaden the volunteer base to teens from NCSY’s eleven regions in North America, and increase the base of organizations partnering with us.
- Developing leadership skills and instilling a genuine passion for volunteering in their own communities and around the world.
- Increasing awareness and compassion for those less fortunate while deepening their appreciation for their own lives.
- Strengthening their Jewish identity and connection to Jewish values through an immersive, hands-on experience of tikkun olam as well as follow-up activities.
Ready Team Mission Preparation is an area of the relief missions program that prepares groups of 10-15 teens for missions. Teens who are part of these groups receive extensive training in planning, logistics, and team leadership as well as preparation for working with victims.
After disaster strikes, the Ready Team is mobilized to hit the ground running during the most critical time, providing immediate relief.
Ready Teams meet throughout the year to maintain an awareness of what it means to provide service to others by learning about Jewish attitudes towards helping those in need and why Israel is the number one responder to natural disasters. The teens also develop expertise in a multitude of areas including logistics management for setting up an on-the-ground base.
In addition to the critical support Ready Teams offer, the teens themselves are often the most impacted after seeing the enormous difference they’ve made in disaster-stricken communities.
NCSY is a world-recognized organization that has played a pivotal role in the lives of Jewish teens across the globe. With the vision of Harold and Enid Boxer a”h, the Orthodox Union founded NCSY in 1954 to provide Jewish teens with an opportunity to build a strong connection to their Jewish roots through inspiration and leadership skills.