SAN FRANCISCO — Seventeen-year-old Ethan Asher of Roswell was awarded $36,000 this week by the Helen Diller Family Foundation in recognition of his commitment to tikkun olam (repairing the world). At a luncheon at San Francisco’s Four Seasons Hotel, Ethan, along with 14 other young leaders from across the nation, received the national 2019 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award, an honor given to young leaders who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, community service and action.
Ethan was selected for the award from among hundreds of teens because of his work in founding March for Our Lives Georgia. Using education and empowerment strategies directed toward youth participation and local government – including education programs, youth engagement programs, protests, gun ownership responsibility training, mental health awareness, voter campaigns, and a legislative agenda – March for Our Lives Georgia takes a comprehensive approach to ending gun violence.
Ethan and March for Our Lives Georgia not only organized, but executed, one of the largest demonstrations ever held in the history of the state of Georgia last spring. The march outnumbered the record Martin Luther King Jr. set for the largest protest in the state of Georgia, with more than 70,000 people in attendance.
Monday’s luncheon celebration was the culmination of a weekendlong series of business strategy workshops, networking and mentoring initiatives, during which award winners exchanged ideas with other socially conscious peers and interacted with Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award alumni from years past who are continuing their social justice work.
A highlight of the luncheon was a special documentary-style video that featured the accomplishments of all 15 teens in a behind-the-scenes chronicle of their leadership achievements. The video showcased each teen’s projects and illustrates an individual’s ability to empower youth, initiate dialogue and shatter stigmas.
The Helen Diller Family Foundation is gearing up to find the next set of teen changemakers and is now accepting nominations for the 2020 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards. Educators, civic leaders and teen mentors are encouraged to acknowledge Jewish teens who are actively working to create meaningful change in their communities and the world. Visit www.dillerteenawards.org/ to nominate a deserving Jewish teen today.