Youth care group scoops state award

The award-winning Jewish Youth Movement leaders, Michelle Koblenz, Sam Hoffman, Gina Steinberg and Zach Freund.       Picture: Matt Jelonek www.communitypix.com.au   d447698
The award-winning Jewish Youth Movement leaders, Michelle Koblenz, Sam Hoffman, Gina Steinberg and Zach Freund.       Picture: Matt Jelonek www.communitypix.com.au d447698

HABONIM Dror youth group chairman Zach Freund (20) hopes a recent accolade could help boost membership numbers.

The Dianella-based group, including Ben Shchigel, Sam Hoffman, Gina Steinberg, Mikayla Wasserman, Megan Byala and Michelle Koblenz, was announced winner of the 2015 Young People Who Care Awards in the caring in the community group category.

The not-for-profit group of volunteers run activities and camps for Jewish students aged three to 12.

Mr Freund said he noticed numbers fluctuated after he attended some camps with the group as a child.

He became chairman of the group two years ago.

“I got involved when I was younger because they came to the Jewish school and I knew I wanted to be a part of it,” he said. “We’ve had worries the past couple of years because the camps had lower numbers than what we had hoped for; we have some more coming up so we hope the numbers will go back up.”

Mr Freund said the group has “an important role in developing strong Jewish identity in an informal way”.

“There is one Jewish school in Perth, which has one way to teaching, which is not bad, but I think we offer something different because the nature of the group is (that) it is run by youth for the youth,” he said.

He wants to study medicine in 2017 after completing a Bachelor of Science at UWA.

Next year may be the last year for Mr Freund with the group.

“The beauty of the group is that the people who are there want to be there, it is up to them to stop,” he said.

“I will just be moving on to the next phase of my life.”

The awards program is presented in partnership by Carers WA and Woodside Energy and the awards were announced at the State Theatre Centre of WA.