A group of local teens recently completed the Future Leadership Council, a one-year educational program sponsored by the JCC of Greater Monmouth County in Deal. The program, the brainchild of real estate developer Richard Krupnick of Ocean, provided the youth with a glimpse into real-life issues not typically taught in school.
The students — juniors and seniors from Ocean Township, West Long Branch, and Marlboro — met once a month to hear talks by guest lecturers in a variety of fields. “Some of the speakers made them laugh, and some made them realize how fortunate they are,” said Krupnick. “Most importantly, all the speakers made them think about their future and their role as leaders.”
The teens who completed the program are Corey Abramowitz, Justin Glasser, Michael Isaacson, Harrison Krupnick, Amie Krupnick, Sydney Markbreiter, Jaclyn Metz, Ariel Morgan, Leigh Nadell, Sara Penchina, Jack Regan, Mara Schneider, and Michelle Sidran, all of Ocean Township; Sharen Resnikoff of West Long Branch; and Jamie Greer and Beth Kramsky, both of Marlboro. The program culminated in a ceremony at the JCC.
Guest lecturers included Superior Court Judge Ira Kreizman, who spoke about the law; Rabbi Esther Reed, associate director of Rutgers Hillel, who discussed anti-Semitism on campus; financial adviser Neil Piper, who focused on economics; and newspaper editor Seth Mandel, who explored anti-Israeli bias in the media.
Arnold Gelfman, executive director of planning, assessment, and research at Brookdale Community College, delivered a lecture on the importance of strategic planning, communications expert Vicki Portman discussed public speaking, and guidance counselor Judith Berg spoke about the art of the interview.
The program was well received by the teens and their parents. “I was very impressed with the panel of lecturers,” said Richard Isaacson, whose son Michael participated in the program. “As the teens look ahead to college and their future careers, this program gave them more real-life exposure than a typical textbook lesson.”
For 16-year-old Corey Abramowitz of Ocean Township, the program was insightful. “I learned there are lots of problems and challenges you have to deal with as an adult that most kids are not even aware of,” said Corey, who hopes to pursue business or engineering. “It opened my eyes to the fact that life isn’t easy and that you have to work toward your goals.”
Krupnick said the program was designed to spark the students’ interest in learning more. “You can’t learn finance or become a polished public speaker in one hour,” he said. “But you can pick up important concepts that will give you a leg up in the future.”
The JCC program also enabled Jewish teens in public schools to stay connected to one another, said Lori Schneider, mother of participant Mara Schneider. “The Leadership Council taught the teens life skills that they will take with them on their next journey.”