Hand Up Teen Leadership

Ready to step up and give back? We’re looking for the next generation of leaders to help us fight hunger in San Diego.

Hand Up Teen Leadership invites San Diego teens of all faiths and backgrounds to develop their leadership skills and engage in hands-on service and advocacy projects to address food insecurity in our local neighborhoods. Part service, part learning, Hand Up Teen Leadership is about challenging ourselves as leaders and finding the fun in giving back.

Take the Next Step

“Hand Up gave me the confidence that I can make a difference in my community. I have made lifelong friends that have allowed me to grow as a person and a leader.”

How We Lead

We Learn

Our team engages topic experts to learn about the complex causes of hunger and food insecurity in our region, and participate in leadership training workshops and mentoring programs to help drive creative solutions.

We Serve

Collectively, Hand Up teens clock hundreds of community service hours organizing donation drives, outreach events, fundraisers, and food distributions for the Hand Up Food Pantry at JFS. Past participants have earned the President’s Gold Volunteer Service Award for their commitment to service.

We Advocate

As a group, we travel to Sacramento to take part in Hunger Action Day and lobby for stronger legislative solutions to combat food insecurity. We also conduct presentations to educate the community about hunger-related issues.


pounds of food collected.
dollars raised.
service hours completed.


The Teen Leadership program runs from September through June. If you’re looking for a hands on way to make a difference, we invite you to complete an application for the upcoming school.

Registration is now closed.


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.

Get Hands On with Hand Up

The Hand Up Food Pantry relies on a dedicated team of volunteers to help us connect local families with more than 258,000 pounds of nutritious food each year. Your involvement can make a difference.

Aurora's Journey
with Hand Up

After joining Hand Up as a freshman, Aurora has been on a mission to eliminate food waste in San Diego. Meet the industrious teen behind the gleaning project at JFS.

Girls Give Back

Girls Give Back empowers young women in grades 9-12 to create meaningful change in the world around them. Together, we learn about gender equity and social justice and serve our community.


Our teen leadership programs are provided with the help of our generous partners.