Merritt Miller, shares her thoughts about her experiences as a parent of children who are 4 Front participants.
What are some positive things about the 4Front teen programs?
The 4Front teen programs give teens a way of meeting other kids that have similar interests outside of the bubble of their own school. Grace wanted to do something different and creative outside of her own world and something that involved problem solving. She participated in SIF (Social Innovation Fellowship), a 12-week entrepreneurship program designed to inspire and empower Jewish teens to be changemakers in their community.Grace was partnered with two other kids, and they chose a project that would help those experiencing homelessness be a little more comfortable during our long cold winters. After winning demo day, Grace and one of her partners decided to turn their venture, Keeping Baltimore Warm, into a reality. This experience really resonated with Grace and her partner. It empowered them and taught them that they could make a difference in the lives of others.
Mason is part of the Diller Teen Fellows program, a year-long immersive global leadership program inviting teens from six continents and 32 communities to step, up, lead their communities, and repair the world. The program empowers kids to become leaders and gets them to think globally. It allows them to connect Jewishly and meet other teens around the world. Mason has met so many other kids through this program and is excited for her Israeli match/exchange counterparts to come stay with us.
What changes have you seen in your children since they’ve been involved?
As a mom, I believe that this becomes part of the tapestry of my kids. It adds other layers and colors and textures, other dimensions to their personalities. Both programs affirm leadership and teaches them that they are capable of making a difference.
How have the programs helped to shape them and prepare them for the “real world”?
As far as Diller is concerned, Mason is currently still in the program, so that is still to be determined, but at this point it has added another layer of learning capacity. She is learning that she can juggle more things and accomplish all the things she wants to do. That’s preparation for part of adulthood and the real world.
As for SIF, it enables and motivates kids to think about things they didn’t think about before. Grace learned how the think about/identify an issue and how to organize to address it. That has empowered her, post SIF, to set up and run an Instagram account, organize blanket drives, figure out how to motivate others to join her cause/organization, learn how to network effectively, etc. She is learning how to grow something bigger than herself, by tending to it, “watering and feeding it.”
What would you say to persuade other parents to encourage their teens to be involved with 4Front?
Depending on what they are looking for, there are so many ways to find something to resonate with your child/teen. The programs offered by 4Front are varied, if you open the door for them, there are so many areas to explore – to find the right fit. It’s a way to promote Jewish connectivity and give kids a way to connect and engage outside of sports and school.
Registration is now open for our 2023-24 Signature programs! Visit Teen Programs | 4Front Baltimore for more information.