In June 2011, Repair the World published the results of the study conducted by the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University and Gerstein-Agne Strategic Communications. The report, titled “Volunteering +Values: A Repair the World Report of Jewish Young Adults,” was commissioned by Repair the World to learn more about volunteer service among young Jewish adults in the United States.
The study found that a majority of the nearly 1000 respondents had reported volunteer involvement in the 12 months prior to the study. Nearly 40% of these respondents volunteered on an irregular basis of less than once a month. 52% of respondents reported that in a typical week, they do not spend time volunteering. Even so, 29% of the respondents volunteer at least once a month, and 10% volunteer at least once a week. While Jewish young adults may not physically be out in their communities volunteering on a regular basis, most Jewish young adults are involved in “low-threshold activism,” which includes signing petitions, donating money, and buying goods that align with their political and social values. Being involved in our communities at times that are agreeable with our increasingly busy schedules is important, and it is more likely for Jewish young adults to be involved when the level of energy to be engaged is minimal and the activities can be easily incorporated into their regular schedule.
Because Jewish young adults are busy with jobs, social events, professional development, and families, the study reported that we prefer small local change in which we are able to see the results of our work through consistent low-threshold volunteering opportunities. Recurring events requiring just a small time commitment make it easy for young adults to fit volunteering into their busy schedules by offering a wide variety of activities at varying times. One hour of service for a few times a month at a easily accessible site is most appealing to Jewish young adults.
Importantly, projects that give Jewish young adults time to socialize with their peers while doing social justice are the most likely to recruit Jewish young adults. The research shows that those Jewish young adults who are not self-motivated to volunteer individually are most likely to get involved when their friends or families encourage them.
Luckily, Next Dor STL, in collaboration with JCRC and the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, will being offering easy-to-join volunteer opportunities specifically for Jewish young adults in St. Louis. The projects will be hosted at Gateway 180: Homelessness Reversed, a St. Louis homeless shelter. For more information, or to get involved, contact us at email@example.com