Just when young Lubavitch couples are apt to voice the wistful complaint that there are not enough shlichus opportunities left to go around, a new opportunity is presenting itself in the form of “youth shliach.”
Rabbi Shmuly Volovick traveled to Manalapan every Sunday from Crown Heights for five months to run a teen program. He moved there permanently in January to assume the role of director of Chabad’s teen and youth program. JLI teens gave him the opportunity to solidify and build on the shlichus he was most interested in.
“What I most appreciate about JLI Teens is it builds a connection between a teen and a shliach that no other program can," he said.
To make this connection between Shliach and teen even stronger and broader, JLI Teens is collaborating with CTeen to provide shluchim with the best in social, education and humanitarian.
"With these three pillars shluchim have become empowered and are laying the foundation of a jewish teen renaissance" explains CTeen's Rabbi Shimon Rivkin. "Shluchim are conquering the teenage demographic as youth clubs are springing up in more and more Chabad Houses each year." This growing trend is indeed a turning point in Jewish teen engagement.
Today, 80 percent of JLI Teens and CTeen chapters are managed by a youth shliach who works exclusively with the younger demographic in their community. Youth programming - both educational and social - requires a dedicated staff member who can relate to this challenging age group, and put the time and energy into engaging them personally and motivating them to be part of the community.
Shluchim report that bringing a young couple to work with their youth segment has benefited their communities tremendously.
Head shliach Rabbi Chuni Vogel of Chabad of Delaware said, “Shluchim should think about bringing young couples to work specifically with youth and teens because it can enhance the shlichus tremendously. We came to Delaware in 1987 and built our community up with great success. But there was one area that was left out... teenagers.
"It became clear to us that before kids go to college is a critical time, and if we can get them somewhat connected, then they also connect their families and peers in a way we can't. We took the plunge and brought another couple, and it was absolutely the right thing to do. "