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Ryan Gensler, Personal Growth with JCC’s 4Front

Ryan Gensler, Personal Growth with JCC’s 4Front

Ryan Gensler, Personal Growth with JCC’s 4Front

Calendar March 12, 2024

By Ryan Gensler, 11th Grade, Peer Leadership Fellow

I think everyone has struggled with self-esteem in some way at some point in their life. For me, I have always been less social, content with my friends as they were, and not expanding my network. When I started expanding outside of this known circle of people, I noticed that I thought more about how I acted and how I looked. This was a startling realization.

My first 4Front program was Peer Leadership Fellows last school year. In this program, I learned to connect with many Jewish peers and if needed, aid them in finding Jewish programming that would interest them, deepening their connection to Judaism.

This year, I decided to partake in the Social Innovation Fellowship, a program centered on creating a social enterprise that betters the world. After being assigned a team based on similar interests and synergetic personalities, we found our problem and set out to solve it through a social venture.

4Front’s programs have forced me to be more comfortable outside of my comfort zone. Peer Leadership Fellows allowed me to connect with many people whom I hadn’t talked to in a long time, reforging connections and reducing this self-consciousness. The exposure that I gained from 4Front has allowed me to approach meeting new people in a more confident manner. To those struggling with self-esteem, I recommend challenging the negative thoughts that you may have because they likely have little merit in the grand scheme of things.

4Front allows Jewish teens like me to further explore skills learned in school and elsewhere and bring them together in a cumulative project/presentation showcasing all that we have learned.

For example, Social Innovation Fellowship will conclude with a Demo Day where each team will pitch their company to an audience from the Baltimore community. Such an event helps teens see what they can accomplish by the end of the program. In this way, we progress gradually throughout the program and see our improvements and learned lessons in plain view.

This type of build-up is not unique to just 4Front’s Social Innovation Fellowship, it can be found in the Peer Leadership Fellows program, the Diller Teen Fellows program, and more. As one navigates these programs, the skills that they learn are invaluable to their lives in school and out. No one is perfect, but everyone can grow and for me, 4Front has been a part of that growth.

Registration for 4Front’s Signature Programs opens March 18!