While today marks the end of our Diller Fellowship year, when I think back to our first Diller meeting I can tell you the connection and bond between this group was apparent from the start. I can’t tell you what programming activity we were doing, the only thing I remember is how much trouble Sophia, Chloe and Jacob had with quieting our laughter and chatter as we sat at the library on the second level of the JCC. There was no awkward introduction with our group. From that very first meeting, this group clicked. And while we quickly developed meaningful and close relationships, it took time and effort for us to learn how to collaborate as one, cohesive group. And eventually, after months of learning and working together, we were able to collaborate as a group and accomplish some amazing things.
One of these amazing things was when we were instructed to give 1,800 dollars to any Baltimore charity of our choice. Now, agreeing on one organization between a group of 20 is not an easy feat. As you would expect, Elan V even tried finding a way to outsmart the directions by dividing our money between several charities. But, after learning to work as part of a group, to make space for others, to lead with conviction in your beliefs while remaining open to other’s, we were able to have productive conversations about how we would choose to impact our Baltimore Community. After several meetings, we chose to give our money to Thread, an organization that harnesses the power of relationships to create a new social fabric of diverse individuals deeply engaged with Baltimore youth facing the most significant opportunity and achievement gaps.
I am excited to see the contributions you all make to this world. I have no doubt every fellow in this cohort will find extraordinary ways to make an impact in their communities through leadership, collaboration, compassion, and Jewish values.