In the midst of the pandemic, and faced with a lack of intergenerational engagement with our elders, the Jewish Home and Care Center, under the guidance of VP of Development, Tanya Mazor-Posner, created a new teen led organizational board, Teen Ovation.

Designed to teach leadership and career skills, while fostering relationships with residents and other teens by participating in discussions and activities, the board has been awarded the Association of Jewish Aging Services Jewish Programming award.

“I’m so proud that we won the Jewish programming Award from the Association of Jewish Aging Services at its most recent National Conference,” Mazor-Posner said. “Teen Ovation has been recognized as a model for other organizations to follow.”

“I love that we finally have a teen leadership group that really works in tandem with our older adults and our community,” Mazor-Posner continued. “Our board is about getting teens together whether they are Jewish or not. Our teens come from different schools, different walks of life, have different backgrounds, and different experiences. Teens of all faiths and backgrounds ranging in age from 13 to 19 are eligible to apply.”

Just one year after its creation, Teen Ovation’s impact has been felt not just at Ovation Communities, but throughout greater Milwaukee.

New co-presidents, Eliana Tabak (sophomore at Nicolet High School), Maddie Weber (senior at Homestead High School), and Joey Arnstein (8th grader at Bayside Middle School), are looking to expand on Teen Ovation’s presence within the community.

“I think that under leadership from a teenager, this can become more widespread and reach other teens,” Tabak said. “I hope that under my leadership Teen Ovation can be a model for other facilities, both Jewish and non-Jewish, in its ways of connection and intergenerational learning.

“We hope that soon we can begin to organize more community projects and hold larger-scale events with the residents,” Tabak continued, “My goal is to get as many actively involved members to continue the legacy of Teen Ovation.”

Gathering monthly, Teen Ovation board members participate in various social, mitzvah, and intergenerational activities such as, a summer picnic where the teens made garden decorations to add to one Ovation’s outdoor resident garden, safe in-person gathering with Ovation residents, and making hand-made Rosh HaShanah cards for each resident.

In addition to building friendships, Teen Ovation is designed to help teens learn communication and leadership skills, while also participating in fundraising activities and sensitivity training in volunteering with older adults.

“I think it’s so important to hear from everyone on their opinions and lives,” Weber said. “I hope to learn the life skill of communication. Not everyone communicates in the same way or has the same ideas, but I want to be able to hear out every idea I can on any topic or situation.”

“You never know where the next good idea is going to come from, and I think we underestimate the power of a good conversation with a wiser person.”

If you or any teen you know is interested in joining the Ovation Communities Teen Ovation board, please contact Tanya Mazor-Posner at TMazor-posner@ovation.org, or call 414-721-9260.