Stand UP DC 2: Update #2

Dear Families,

What a busy few days we’ve had! Thursday started at A Wider Circle, an organization that works tirelessly to support those living in poverty and provide them opportunities to furnish their houses with lightly used donations. Your teens spent the morning moving furniture, folding and organizing linens, and sorting and packaging books for libraries. They had an opportunity to visit the BBYO International office (which we will tour later this week) to hear first hand experiences from speakers who have experienced homelessness. Our guests are part of the speakers for the National Coalition for the Homeless, and shared intimate details about their lives before, during, and after experiencing homelessness. We had a relaxing evening kayaking the Potomac River, and finished our night with dessert in Georgetown!

Friday morning was early for some as they participated in a service project at Thrive D.C. Your teens spent time interacting with guests at the daily shelter; serving food, pouring coffee, taking registrations, and just spending time having genuine conversations. The other half of the group went back to D.C. Central Kitchen to help breakfast prep for the organizations they support. Both groups met up at Dog Tag Bakery for lunch and an afternoon activity. The group spent time touring the bakery, scooping cookie dough, and putting stickers on dog treat baggies. We also learned about their program to support disabled veterans and caretakers. This cohort is their largest so far!

We then walked back to the dorms to prepare for Shabbat. We attended a lovely, relaxing service at Sixth & I, where we were treated to a light snack prior to, and a delicious Shabbos meal after. Rabbi Shira gave a wonderful sermon about leadership, and helping when you can, which coincides perfectly with the theme of our Stand UP trip. I’d like to wish a yasher koach to all our teens who  participated in leading the Birkat and many wonderful songs to follow. The congregation was happy to have you!

The teens were so excited to sleep in on Saturday after such a busy, go-go-go week. Following our late wake-up, we had brunch in the dorms and then participated in a meaningful Shabbat service, where we connected our prayers with experiences, quotes, and stories to people experiencing homelessness, hunger, and poverty. After reflecting on our first week, we walked to the monuments and museums, and spent the afternoon at the National Mall or at the Eastern Market. We returned back to the university, found an outdoor space and enjoyed Havdallah as a group. The evening culminated with the famous ice cream sandwiches from Captain Cookie!

Today began with an outreach run, a time for us to interact with people experiencing homelessness with nowhere to go on the weekend. This morning each of us packed a bagged lunch (sandwich, fruit, granola bar, and water) to distribute when we got to the park. The group spent an hour speaking with people; talking about sports, their families, and common interests. Just before lunch we heard from a speaker who had survived the Holocaust. She shared her story and answered any questions we had. We spent the afternoon guiding ourselves through the United States Holocaust Museum, a somber experience for us all. Our evening ended with a pizur dinner DuPont Circle, and a reflection on the day at the dorms.

Just a reminder to look through our Facebook photo album, and keep an eye out for our next email later this week…

We can’t believe there are only three full days left!

– Your Stand UP DC Staff

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