Blog with Springboard

The Springboard blog highlights the experiences of Jewish teens and Jewish teen professionals participating in community programs across Chicagoland and beyond. Dive into blogs about different Jewish teen events, leadership programs, trip opportunities, and more! Join us in celebrating the unique perspectives and contributions of Jewish teens and professionals in the Jewish community. To post a blog, please email

Springboard Blog

Springboard Blog

Meet Springboard's New Lewis Summer Intern, Maddy Pestine!

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Hello everyone! My name is Maddy Pestine, and I am so excited to meet you all this summer as Springboard’s Lewis Summer Intern! As part of the Lewis Summer Intern Program, I work alongside 35 other outstanding college students who are committed to making Jewish life in the Chicagoland area (and beyond) a vibrant, inclusive, and empowering community for all. I believe I’m the luckiest out of my cohort, though, because I get to work directly with the changemakers of our future: teens! 

I am a rising Junior at Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) studying Psychology and Business with a minor in Legal Studies. I am very involved in the dance community on campus, which has always been a major part of my life.  

I have found a welcoming and supportive Jewish community through Chabad, Hillel, and my sorority, Alpha Epsilon Phi. The friendships I have fostered through these groups have been major cornerstones for me in a year that challenged the strength of Jewish life and students on college campuses across the world.  

One of my favorite parts about having a robust Jewish life on campus is the opportunity to learn about the lifestyles of individuals who live out their Judaism differently than myself. Whether I am learning about life in Israel from our Israel Fellow, conversing with the Rabbi and his family after Shabbat dinner, or talking to women in my sorority about their experiences growing up in other Jewish communities across North America, I am sure to learn something new every day about how Judaism is lived by those I love.  

I cannot wait to work with the Springboard Team this summer to meet and learn from all of you. Your experiences and feedback of Jewish teen life in the Chicagoland area will have a major impact for years to come. This is going to be an incredible summer of personal growth and development, friendship building, and fun that will last a lifetime. I look forward to being a small part of your Jewish journey, and I can’t wait for you all to become a big part of mine! 

Maddy Pestine

Maddy and Eden

Maddy pictured with WashU Chabad’s Israel Fellow, Eden Yair, at Rosh Hashanah.  

Maddy and Mushka

Maddy pictured with WashU Chabad’s Director of Engagement, Mushka Novak. 

Maddy and Sorority

Maddy pictured with women from her sorority, Alpha Epsilon Phi, at an Israeli Cooking Night event. 

Highlights from BBYO - Great Midwest Region's 2023-2024 year!

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GMR BBYO had an incredible year! A few of our highlights include:

  • Surpassed our membership goal and now have 865 members, 252 of them joined this year

  • Hosted high quality and meaningful teen-led chapter programs

  • Sold out all of our regional events and conventions

  • Started up two new chapters, one in Oak Park and another on the South Side of the city

  • Sent 45 members to BBYO summer programs

  • Raised $37,459.25 on #givingBBYOday, surpassing our goal of $30,061.22

  • Celebrated BBYO’s centennial birthday! We are excited for another 100 years of BBYO

    BBYO 100th Birthday

Highlights from NFTY-CAR's 2023-2024 year!

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NFTY- NFTY-CAR (Chicago Area Region) has seen amazing growth this year! Not only have we doubled the amount of events we had, we are also incredibly proud of the amazing community partners we’ve worked with this year including other Jewish teen organizations and synagogues. In addition to our amazing community partners, we’ve also worked with 10+ new teen leaders, including 2 teens honored with the 18 under 18 award, and 10+ adult volunteers across our organization. We cannot wait to keep up this amazing growth.


Highlights from USY-CHUSY's 2023-2024 year!

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USY-CHUSY (Chicago USY) hosted 16 regional programs, a CHUSY regional record number of programs, and engaged 58% more participants than last year! CHUSY also collaborated with at least 10 different organizations this year to provide a variety of programming for a wide range of ages from a joint Shabbat dinner with Northwestern Hillel with CHUSY high schoolers to visiting a slime museum with close to 200 2nd-8th graders. CHUSY was proud to have 5 involved teens honored at this year’s 18 Under 18. CHUSY would not have been able to pull this off without the incredible teen leaders on the 2023-2024 Regional Executive Board, Regional General Board, Chapter Boards, Youth Professionals, Clergy and community partners. We look forward to having another phenomenal year in 2024-2025!

USY-CHUSY Group Photo