Category Archives: AJSS 2014

Memories of a Special Bond

By Lindsey Johnson, alumna of Portland 2013 and Memphis 2014

While it is true that no two AJSS trips are the same, I was expecting the basic aspects of friendships and hard work from my trip to Portland, Oregon in 2013 to be replicated in my trip to Memphis, Tennessee in 2014. Those two things both played a huge role in my second trip, but there was something unique about this trip: Marie. Once a week, we visited the residents of an assisted living facility. We gave them manicures and assisted them with activities such as bingo and drawing. During our first visit there, I met Marie. I walked with her from the room where we had lunch back to her room, and I decided to stay and talk with her when we got there. She told me all about her childhood and growing up during the Great Depression, how her education was cut short so she could work instead, her late husband who was “the red head who was quite a catch,” and her grandson who was starting college in the fall and how she wanted to set us up. When it was time to leave, I gave her a hug and headed to the lobby to meet the rest of the AJSS participants. During the van ride back, we shared our stories about the different residents we spoke to. ...

Thank you

Dear AJSS Friends and Family,

In 1986, I was 16 and looking to do something different with my summer. What I learned about myself and the broader world during my six-week AJSS trip to Cincinnati, Ohio changed my life. Looking back on that experience, I appreciate that AJSS instilled in me greater self-confidence and a commitment to tikkun olam.

For nearly 30 years, AJSS has remained part of my life. During this time I transitioned from participant to staffer to a long-serving board member, and now the newly-elected AJSS Board Chair. From these different vantage points, I watched AJSS transform from a strong summer program into a remarkable service-learning organization. ...

Texas Travelin’

By Galya Lazar

Last week we left Oklahoma City to spend a few days working with Habitat for Humanity in Amarillo, TX. We spent our days in Amarillo building Amarillo Habitat’s 100th home (and even made the news!), and our evenings indulging in traditional Texas food and leaving our mark on Cadillac Ranch. By Thursday afternoon, our group was ready to do some touring of Texas.

On our way to Austin we stopped at a beautiful canyon. It was HUGE! Everything really is bigger in Texas.

The next day we got to sleep in a bit before driving to Fort Worth. There we got to see a cattle drive, eat lunch, and look into tourist shops. Once we were all full we got back into the cars and continued our road trip to Austin. ...

Paparazzi Posse Update #2 from OKC

Blog #2 – July 29-31

A lot has gone on since OKC’s last update!

Mikey, Chanie, Emily, and Tori are back with news from the trip. This Tuesday, we worked at ServeMoore, an organization devoted to helping the citizens of Moore after the tornado last May. Half of the group went to help build fences while the other half split up between painting and cleaning debris away from people’s homes. Tuesday’s night activity involved a trip to Bricktown, an OKC neighborhood, and dividing up into three teams for a photo scavenger hunt. Tasks included arm wrestling a stranger with full sleeve tattoos and petting a carriage horse. ...

Welcome to OKC

We 16 members of AJSS OKC started off our first full week of work after our first Shabbat and weekend. After waking up terrifyingly early, we loaded into the vans and rode to City Rescue Mission, an organization devoted to helping out homeless people of all ages – from babies to adults, from families to single men and women.

There in a warehouse, we sorted donated clothing for distribution to the homeless. After lunch, we moved to a new activity: playing with the children who lived at the mission. Upstairs, part of the group made art projects, while downstairs in the gym, others played sports and hung out outside with the kids. It was hard to immediately connect to the kids for some, but it became easier as time went on. ...