Baltimore Jewish Teens are Creating Innovative Solutions to Social Problems in New 4Front Teen Fellowship

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Izzy Hettleman sees it all the time. Unsafe roads, in part from teens texting and driving. So when given the opportunity to address a prevailing social problem, he and two of his peers decided to look for a technological solution to create a more safe driving environment.

Joseph La Fiandra had another idea. Passionate that education leads to a successful future, and concerned about the educational challenges faced by students in underserved communities, La Fiandra reached out to teachers in Baltimore City schools. After learning that they struggled with the time it took to assess learning disabilities, his group embarked creating a diagnostic tool that would make the process easier.

For Hettleman and La Fiandra, two Jewish high school students who are participating in a new Social Innovation Fellowship, these projects afforded them the opportunity to bring an entrepreneurial mindset to create social change. Not to mention, raise their social consciousness too.

This Fellowship is being offered by 4Front, a brand-new hub for Jewish teen engagement. Housed at the JCC and funded by The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore and the Jim Joseph Foundation, 4Front features community-wide programming for Jewish teens, from sports and arts to advocacy and social entrepreneurship.

This year, 19 teens are participating in this pilot project and each is charged with designing a concept for a mission-driven, for-profit business, explained Diana Solomon, 4Front’s program coordinator.

“If you like helping people and coming up with ways to help people that no one has done before, this is the perfect program to do it,” said La Fiandra. It is showing teens that their ideas are meaningful and can make a tangible difference.”

Throughout the nine months, each team works with a mentor, chosen for their expertise in technology, social innovation and business. Monthly workshops tackle social entrepreneurial topics through a Jewish lens.  Click to read full article.

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