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NYC Teen Receives National Recognition for Empowering Girls Around the World

 

 

Yardena Gerwin an 18-year-old from NYC, has received recognition for updating and empowering the NYC chapter of the national Girl Up campaign through her program Empowering Girls in NYC and the Developing World Through Building the NY Girl Up Coalition.
Yardena was recently announced as a recipient of the 2018 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards, a $36,000 award that recognizes teens for their commitment to social good and volunteer service.
Yardena joined Girl Up after being misdiagnosed for a rare autoimmune disease and realized that cultural sexism was pervasive, particularly in the medical field where women’s symptoms were often dismissed. Narrowly escaping a fatal misdiagnosis, Yardena channeled her passion into helping other girls through Girl Up.
Quickly becoming a leader within the organization, Yardena established a strong NYC chapter – Empowering Girls in NYC and the Developing World Through Building the NY Girl Up Coalition – dedicated to combatting global sexism through activism, legislative reform, and advocacy.
Now in its twelfth year, the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards have given more than $4 million dollars to 114 Jewish teens who are tackling global issues and creating lasting change through tikkun olam – the vision of Bay Area Philanthropist Helen Diller, the quiet force behind The Helen Diller Family Foundation.

 

 

More about the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards:

The Helen Diller Family Foundation, a supporting foundation of the Jewish
Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties, has announced the
recipients of its annual Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards. Now in its 12th year, the national Awards recognize young
changemakers who are committed to undertaking the most urgent and pressing challenges faced by communities
around the globe.

This year’s Awards recipients are the creators of non-profit organizations, widely adopted school curriculums,
student-led volunteer programs, and more that address issues from school bullying, sexual harassment and
sexism, to health disparities, homelessness, and discrimination. Each awardee will receive $36,000 in support of
their philanthropic vision. Full descriptions of all 15 Award recipients and their initiatives can be found at:
www.dillerteenawards.org.

The Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards began in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2007 as the vision of Bay Area
philanthropist Helen Diller. The Diller Teen Awards recognize Jewish teens demonstrating and exemplifying the
spirit of tikkun olam, a central Jewish value meaning “repair the world.” Since 2007, the program has awarded more
than $4 million to 114 teens in recognition of their vision, innovation, and demonstration of leadership.
“This past year has clearly demonstrated the power of youth and their ability to engage in helping repair our
world,” said Jackie Safier, President of the Helen Diller Family Foundation. “The 2018 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam
Award recipients are confronting some of the most complex and divisive issues of our time with a passion,
determination, and courageousness that we can all admire and hope to emulate. These teens continue to remind
us that individuals of any age can be leaders and advocates who seek to positively impact the world in a significant
way.”

Fostering a collaborative community among recipients and bolstering national recognition of these forwardthinking
teens is a primary goal of the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards. Past recipients continue to inspire their
peers to follow in their tikkun olam footsteps and create meaningful relationships with new awardees through
networking and mentorship. Many past recipients have also been recognized by some of the most prestigious
institutions and leaders, including the United Nations Foundation, the Jefferson Awards, the Prudential Spirit Of
Community Awards, The White House, and former President Barack Obama.
The 2018 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards recipients were selected by committees comprised of community leaders
and educators located in cities around the country. Candidates completed detailed applications describing their
Diller Teen TIkkun Olam Awards 2018 Contact Esha Estrada: 212.561.7469 page 2
projects, goals, impact, inspirations and challenges, fundraising tactics, and major accomplishments. Eligible
applicants were United States residents, between 13 and 19 years of age at the time of the application deadline,
who self-identify as Jewish. A celebratory awards ceremony honoring the teens will be held in San Francisco on
Monday, August 20, 2018.

The 2018 recipients encourage anyone interested in nominating a teen to begin the nomination process at:
www.dillerteenawards.org.
Meet the 15 recipients of the 2018 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards:

Helena Zimmerman (Purchase, NY):
“TeensGive allows teens to give back to their communities in ways that directly address the inequities in our
education system. In this way, I am ‘paying it forward’ by hopefully creating awareness so that more people build
opportunities in their own communities.”

Stephanie Reifman (Upper Saddle River, NJ):
“Upon researching heroin addiction, I found that it was an epidemic and it was right in my own backyard. I knew
then that I wanted to prevent more senseless deaths from occurring, so I created H.A.P.P.Y. Week to educate
students on the dangers of heroin.”

Peyton Klein (Pittsburgh, PA):
“Every day, Global Minds fights stereotypes and discrimination through education. Children are the future of
America and the world. If we reach students and promote cultural understanding at a young age, we will proactively
provide a promising future.”

Minnah Stein (Sarasota, FL):
“My goal is not only to raise awareness of sexual harassment and assault in K-12 schools, but also to give educators
and students language and tools they can use to take action in their communities to make their schools safe places
to learn for all students.”

Daniel Zahn (Allentown, PA):
“We have helped students identify scholarships that make college affordable, including some who have received
over a quarter million dollars in aid from universities and third parties. We have also encouraged students to
consider educational opportunity inequality and share their essays and scholarship knowledge with others.”

Genevieve Liu (Chicago, IL):
“In the U.S. alone, approximately 7.4 million adolescents lose a parent before age 16. Parent loss is ubiquitous, yet,
I felt so alone. Instead of stopping there, I decided to create the platform I was searching for. Suddenly, I had the
greatest remedy to battling grief: purpose.”

Lena Goldstein (Arnold, MD):
“The Herculean task of improving healthcare for just one patient seems overwhelming. Working together, I see the
indispensable role of each local health promoter, philanthropist, volunteer physician, cook, CEO, nurse, pharmacist,
and translator.”

Sara Blau (Brookville, NY):
“I knew that if every child had a soccer ball to kick, a bat to swing, or cleats to run in, they too could become leaders
in their local sports leagues; they too could benefit from the life skills that playing sports imparts.”
Diller Teen TIkkun Olam Awards 2018 Contact Esha Estrada: 212.561.7469 page 3

Madeline Salvatierra (North Tustin, CA):
“Creating CEE challenged me to think creatively about how I could pursue tikkun olam, and it required me to be
tenacious when reaching out to organizations to nationalize my project. Most of all, it showed me that I can be a
leader: today, of Camps to Explore and Empower, and tomorrow, of a larger organization.”

Michaela Weinstein (Albany, CA):
“We believe that having continuous discussion and education about discrimination, social justice and empathy,
starting at young ages when morals and beliefs are forming, are vital to a fair and just world.”

Natalie Hampton (Sherman Oak, CA):
“I believe that every school has upstanders like me who want to take an active role in improving their community
to make it warm and welcoming. Something as seemingly small as lunch can make huge strides in making a school
more inclusive.”

Dillon Eisman (Malibu, CA):
“I have learned that the key to solving problems, much like the process of upcycling, is about being innovative with
the resources you already have.”

Emilia Peters (Los Angeles, CA):
“Through our weekend art classes and summer camps, we hope to foster a love of art, provide a sense of joy and
tranquility in exploring something new, and give students a brief respite from the stressors in their lives.”

Yardena Gerwin (New York, NY)
“Girl Up’s unique focus is on education, health, and a life free from violence for girls in developing countries, which
we achieve by empowering and training girls here in the U.S. and abroad.”

Adam Sella (Cincinnati, OH)
“My goal is to continue to encourage students to help refugees in their communities. Although the refugee crisis is
no longer at the top of the news, I am encouraged by our outreach efforts and the students who are interested in
starting STAR chapters in their schools.”

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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