Blog  NFTY-PAR: The Power of Social Justice Projects

NFTY-PAR: The Power of Social Justice Projects

By Samantha Prager, NFTY-PAR SAVP

WINSTY has been my favorite event since my freshmen year.  It is NFTY-PAR’s social action event; during this, PARites go out into various communities and participate in a variety of social action projects. There are many reasons that contribute to WINSTY being my favorite event however there is one aspect that stands out. At each WINSTY for the past three years I have had life changing experiences that allow me to either appreciate something in my own life, or understand something new about another’s.

At this event, I participated in a project where I had to make blankets to go on the bottom of cages in animal shelters to make their cages feel more like a home. This was an excellent project, myself and roughly 12 other teens made over 20 blankets for the shelter. We all had a great time together making the blankets, but something that was really inspirational was a young girl who created an organization called “Pennies for Puppies”. She was a young girl, maybe 11 years old. She had created a non-profit organization devoted to helping raise money for animal shelters. She helped all of us make the blankets, and shared with us all she had accomplished. This was exceptionally inspirational because it was outstanding how a young girl, could make such a big impact.

Later that day, the entire region came together and shared stories about their projects. People had gone to retirement homes, participated in a Religious Action Center workshop on LGBTQ rights, volunteered at the Philadelphia Zoo, as well as several other projects. It was so remarkable to hear everyone’s stories. People went out into the community and changed the lives of many people, but little did they know that they themselves also received something that cannot have a dollar value put on it. They received the pure  bliss of what it feels like to selflessly give time and energy volunteering for people and animals in need. This is a feeling that can be received no other way.  Hearing their stories made me remember why I love WINSTY so much. It is an opportunity for people to go out into the community, and do something hands on and makes a difference. It is a chance for people to learn what it is like to help another, without getting anything in return.

WINSTY has always provided me with an awe-inspiring experience and I have to say, hearing everyone share their stories made me smile more than I ever have. It makes me so incredibly happy to hear people having fun doing community service. Community service has the connotation of being a boring, and tedious. And WINSTY disproves that connotation because of all the fun, and joy people get out of it. Every year I hope that it inspires people to get involved in their own communities, I hope that people take the skills they learn and bring them home so they can spread the word that community service is fun! This event truly made an impact in my life; it’s something that I will never forget.