The Helen Diller Family Foundation recently honored Natalie Hampton and Emilia Peters, two 16-year-olds from Los Angeles, for their commitment to service and social good.
The pair both received the 2018 Diller Tikkun Olam Award, a prestigious $36,000 award that recognizes up to 15 Jewish teens across the country. Now in its 12th year, the national awards recognize young change makers who are committed to undertaking the most urgent and pressing challenges faced by communities around the globe.
This year’s awards recipients are the creators of nonprofit organizations, widely adopted school curriculums, student-led volunteer programs, and more that address issues from school bullying, sexual harassment and sexism, to health disparities, homelessness and discrimination.
Hampton, after enduring persistent bullying and eating lunch alone every day, created Sit With US, a free lunch-planning mobile app for middle school and high school youth that helps students coordinate lunches with friends or look for open invitations to tables. In September 2016, the app was released for iOS in Apple Store and was featured by Apple under “New Apps We Love.” Hampton has been selected as an outstanding youth delegate at the United Nations Youth Assembly and has spoken at the TEDxTeen London, Girls Can Do and Say No Bullying.
Peters co-founded KEM Creative, which brings art to homeless shelters and underserved communities, when she realized Los Angeles’ homelessness crisis meant children on the street don’t have the resources to occupy their time or minds. KEM Creative forges strategic partnerships with organizations like the Alexandria House shelter to bring free, teen-taught art instructions to children in homeless shelters and underserved communities. So far, more than 500 students have participated at five facilities across Los Angeles and Guatemala.
“This past year has clearly demonstrated the power of youth and their ability to engage in helping repair our world,” said Jackie Safier, president of the Helen Diller Family Foundation. “The 2018 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award recipients are confronting some of the most complex and divisive issues of our time with a passion, determination, and courageousness that we can all admire and hope to emulate. These teens continue to remind us that individuals of any age can be leaders and advocates who seek to positively impact the world in a significant way.”
Committees comprising community leaders and educators from around the country selected the 2018 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards recipients. Candidates completed detailed applications describing their projects, goals, impact, inspirations and challenges, fundraising tactics, and major accomplishments. Eligible applicants were United States residents, between 13 and 19 years of age at the time of the application deadline, who self-identify as Jewish.
An awards ceremony honoring the teens will be held in San Francisco on Monday, Aug. 20.
For information, visit dillerteenawards.org.
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