When I signed up for Voices at the end of the summer of
2018, I didn’t know what I was signing up for. I had heard so many great things
about Voices from friends who had been part of the program in the past, but I
had no first-hand experience with the program itself nor any program like it.
All I knew was throughout high school, I had been wanting to be involved with
something Jewish, but I had yet to find what I really wanted to do; until I
Voices encourages and provokes lots of thought and
reflection on personal values. Early into Voices, I identified that Tzedek is
something very valuable to me. Not only did Voices help me identify this,
Voices gave me opportunity after opportunity to take action on it, and to help
others take action as well. Not only did Voices help me identify and stick to
my values, working with others and collectively contributing to something
greater and bigger than ourselves was even more rewarding.
This past year, the Alumni board, which I sat on, had around
12 board members, including myself. As we received grant proposals, the
Covid-19 pandemic also began affecting the US and our in-person meetings came
to a halt and at the same time, many of the organizations’ needs shifted so
they could support their members through the pandemic. As a board, we quickly
shifted our outlook and our funding priorities, and we were able to help
organizations navigate through the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only
were these organizations that were either affected or helped those affected by
Covid-19, each board member, including myself had a say in what issues we
wanted to support. One committee I sat on was the disabilities committee, which
looked into organizations that provided help and services to those with
intellectual and developmental disabilities. Services like these became very
important as Covid-19 closed schools and other support systems previously
providing assistance to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Because of this, I know that the Voices Alumni Board contributed to a
meaningful cause, and was impactful, in a time of need.
I am so grateful I was able to make Voices a meaningful part
of my junior and senior years of high school. As I transition into college and
beyond, my values are clear to me and Voices had a large part in helping me
identify and uphold those. Voices has also taught me how to contribute to
something greater than myself and because of my experience in Voices that is
something I will always strive for.
Lichstein is currently a freshman in the Swanson School of Engineering at the
University of Pittsburgh. During his junior and senior years of high school, he
sat on the board of Voices: The Chicago Jewish Teen Foundation. Outside of
Voices, Noah enjoys taking photos, traveling, cycling, and playing squash.