Join us as we give a warm welcome to Sophia Varon, 4Front’s new Assistant Director. Sophia is a New York native, excited to join Baltimore’s warm and welcoming community. She graduated with a degree in Psychology from Macaulay Honor’s College at Queens College before heading into the Jewish Education field. She has spent the past three years as the Program Director for JCC Greater Boston’s Diller Teen Fellows program and is excited to continue working with Diller and other incredible teen programs here at 4Front. She is heavily involved within the Jewish community outside her formal role, including volunteering in community engagement as a resident of newly formed Moishe House Pod in Federal Hill. She holds certifications in Virtual Experiential Education and Youth Mental Health First Aid. She is passionate about sustainable living, good reads, and is a long-term beginner guitar player.
Q: Why are you excited to be at the JCC?
I am excited to work in such an open, warm, and welcoming environment. As soon as I met the team at the J, I knew this would be a place where I would be encouraged to collaborate, utilize creativity, and grow. I am looking forward to using that inventive muscle in building programs and experiences, knowing that I’m encouraged to think innovatively and learn from challenges. I am looking forward to working with the broader community, specifically getting to know teens, their families, and other community professionals doing important youth work.
Q: What is your role and what is it like day to day so far?
I am the Assistant Director of 4Front, where I work with an incredible team to create opportunities for teens, parents, and youth professionals in the community. 4Front has many programs for high-school aged students, including various fellowships and leadership opportunities. We also work to connect teens to various opportunities within the community, whether that be at 4Front or another incredible organization within Greater Baltimore. In my role, I work to get to know parents of teens within the community and create programs and classes that help them support their teens as well as connect them with other parents of adolescents. I also create opportunities for youth engagement professionals to better support them in their work through professional development and networking.
Q: What are some of your past experiences, both camp and non-camp related?
For the past three years, I was the Program Director for the JCC Greater Boston Diller Teen Fellow’s program, where I lead each annual cohort of 20 teens in a transformative journey that explores Jewish identity formation, social change, and leadership. I was also a resident at Moishe House, where I created and facilitated programs to engage the Jewish young adult community within Cambridge, MA. I am excited to continue this work, both as I work with teens and professionals in the Baltimore community, and as I move to Federal Hill, where my Husband (Asher) and I are opening a Moishe Pod to build exciting events for the community there.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
How much spare time do I have? I love to wander to new places, whether that be exploring a hike 8 miles away or a city 8,000 miles away. Cooking is also a hobby of mine, I’m always trying to put a vegan-spin on recipes, much to my husband’s dismay. A future goal is to become a plant mom as I have a brown thumb.
Q: Do you have a favorite quote/words to live by?
“Say what you mean and act how you feel, / because those who matter don’t mind, / and those who mind don’t matter.” -Dr. Seuss