Marguerite Alberts, Staff Writer
Giving back to the community is the job of every human on earth, whether it is actively participating in organizations, doing community service or donating money to charities. Making a difference in the community is entrusted to every generation, particularly teenagers, because they are the world’s future. Teenagers like sophmoresSarah Watkins and Jessica Fischman are two out of 42,717,537 teenagers in Los Angeles County who try to improve their community.
These two girls have one organization in common: MATCH.
“MATCH literally means Money And Teens Creating Hope. MATCH’s goals are to help as many people in the community with the money that we have. We have a set amount of money that we have to distribute to organizations that need the money,” Fischman described.
Fischman heard about MATCH through her temple, Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, from her rabbi, Rabbi Laura Geller, who is head rabbi at the reform temple.
Watkins also participates in other organizations such as To Write Love on Her Arms, Tree People and Heal The Bay. She learned about these organizations and MATCH from her friends. These groups are 4 of 413 charities and groups in Los Angeles County (according to charity-charities.org).
“I participate in these programs because they all stand for things that I greatly believe in. I choose organizations that mean something to me personally,” Watkins said.
Watkins has been working towards helping the community since she was very young, where as Fischman has only really started to make a difference for three years.
“Because I love to help people. Seeing other people happy makes me happy. As I have learned over the years every one deserves life,” Watkins said.
Both agree that it is important for teenagers to take an active role in the community.
Fischman explained that, “If you give out good energy, you will receive good energy, and another person will be happy to be a part of the community and to help causes good things to happen.”
Watkins and Fischman try to get their friends actively involved by encouraging them to participate in clubs at school related to the community or to tell them about organizations. Clubs can be a way for teens that already have a full schedule to do their part.
“Volunteering at your church or temple is always a good start, because it doesn’t take much time,” Watkins suggested.
Watkins enjoys the feeling she gets when giving back. She described it as ‘amazing.’
“The thing I enjoy most about giving back to the community,” Fischman said, “is seeing other people happy and living life to their fullest. For example, giving someone who did not have enough money to go to college [the money they need.] Also families who could not afford food for their whole family have food on their table everyday.”
The two agree that what they do really makes a difference in the community, whether it is in the long term or the short term. “Even if it does not change the world or even the whole community, it helps someone in need,” Fischman said.
Watkins believes that individually a person doesn’t make a whole lot of difference, but that with more people, it adds up.
“As a single person, I don’t make much of a difference,” Watkins said. “But with a bunch of other people, we can make huge differences.”
There are many areas and people that need help, like the environment and health-related issues. They concurred that no category is more important than another.
The federal government supports specific days dedicated to contributing to the community. One such day is ‘Make a Difference Day’, held , nationwide on the fourth Saturday of October. Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission contributes to this program by hosting Teens Make A Difference Day.
There are multiple opportunities for people of all ages to make a difference. As Watkins said, “It is not difficult to make a difference.”