JFS Teen Leadership

Find Your Voice and Be a Voice for Others

Ready to step up and give back to your community? We’re empowering the next generation of leaders to create social change right here in San Diego.

The JFS Teen Leadership program is a unique opportunity for teens of all faiths and backgrounds to hone their skills as a passionate social justice advocate. With the mentorship of JFS staff and community partners, participants will develop valuable leadership skills, learn how to effectively make change in their community, develop new relationships with like-minded peers, and strive to earn service awards that strengthen resumes and college applications.

Each participant will learn about a wide array of social justice issues, run community donation drives, volunteer multiple times a year, create awareness campaigns at school or in their community, and create a final project to enact change on an issue they are passionate about. Core topics include: hunger, gender equality, immigration, and much more.

Teens in grades 9-12 are invited to apply for the 2019-2020 school year!

The final deadline for applications is July 31, 2019.

Take the Next Step

Attend an Info Session

These will be held at the JFS – Joan & Irwin Jacobs Campus from 5:30pm to 6:30pm
Select a date below to RSVP

Girls Give Back and Hand Up Teen Leaders recently joined forces to create one all-encompassing Teen Leadership program. With a revamped curriculum, new Executive Leadership positions, and increased opportunities to pursue your own passions, our new JFS Teen Leadership program is the perfect opportunity for young change-makers looking to sharpen their social justice skills. Teens of all genders are welcome to apply to this exciting new opportunity!

How We Lead

We Listen and Learn

Effective leadership starts by listening to the needs of your community. Our program teaches participants how to identify pressing problems and advocate for sustainable change. Throughout the year, JFS Teen Leaders attend workshops, trainings, and conferences to develop the necessary skills to create a lasting impact. Past learning experiences included ADL San Diego anti-bias training, public speaking workshops, Strengths Finder assessment and workshop, and Your Voice Teen Activism Conference.


We Serve the Community

Community is the home we build together. JFS Teen Leaders are committed to showing up for our San Diego family and supporting local causes that improve the collective wellbeing of our city. We dedicate hundreds of service hours to JFS and other organizations like Coastal Roots Farm, San Diego Youth Services, Girls on the Run, San Diego Humane Society, Rachel’s Women’s Shelter, Project Concern International, and Feeding San Diego. Past participants have earned Presidential Volunteer Service awards, the Peter Chortek Leadership award, and the Jack and Lorraine Stern Volunteer of the Year award for their commitment to community service.


We Speak Out

Change happens when we raise our collective voice. The JFS Teen Leadership program will develop the advocacy skills of each participant so they can communicate effectively both in-person and across digital platforms. We’ve traveled to Sacramento to lobby for Hunger Awareness Day, hosted 50/50 Day film screenings to promote gender equality, launched GoFundMe campaigns, and mentored middle school students.


We Create Change

Never underestimate the power one person has to make a difference. Our curriculum is focused on making a measurable difference in the San Diego community and equipping JFS Teen Leaders to continue changing the world once they leave the program. In the past, we’ve packed school supply bags for homeless youth, collected hygiene products for women’s shelters, organized beach clean-ups, created activism workshops – the list goes on and on!

Our Impact Last Year

pounds of food collected.
sanitary products collected for women in need.
service hours completed.

Take the Next Step

The JFS Teen Leadership program runs from September through June and consists of two activities a month. If you’re looking for a hands-on way to make a difference and pursue your passion for social change, please complete an application for the upcoming program year.

Want to learn more? Join us at one of our info sessions on June 20th or July 9th.

Registration is now open! Click below to apply.

Get In Touch

We’re here to answer your questions and help you get started.


Daria Tomsky, Community Leadership Programs Lead Coordinator

Daria is a San Diego native who began working for JFS in December 2016. She has a bachelor’s degree from UC Davis in Human Development, with a minor in Education. Prior to working for JFS, she worked in a variety of youth development programs. While living in Davis, Daria served as the Camp Director of an Outdoor Education Summer Camp. She also spent a year and a half teaching English and living in South Korea. Daria loves her job because she has the opportunity to affect the lives of our future generation, inspiring them to care about the important issues that face our community and our world. When Daria is not busy empowering the next generation of leaders, she enjoys rock climbing, spending time outdoors, or relaxing with her cat.