By Noah Jones
It’s been four months now, and I can’t believe how my perspective on life has changed for the better. Before moving to Portland for Tivnu, I lived in a suburb in Oak Park, IL. I am 19 years old, I have two younger brothers and both of my parents. My mom is Jewish, and my although my dad is not, my brothers and I were raised with a strong Jewish education. After graduating from high school I attended community college in Michigan and quickly realized that I was not prepared to further my education at that point in time. Since I knew I wouldn’t be attending school the next year I knew I had to do something with my life such as find a job, or a gap year program. After searching for gap year programs that would be a nice fit for me, I found Tivnu. I had my doubts at first. Even though I went to college, I was living with my aunt and my uncle so I never really experienced what it was like to be living and experiencing things on my own. Living in a house and sharing a space with seven other people didn’t really appeal to me either. I could barely handle living with my two younger brothers! But when I arrived in Portland to meet my housemates and see how beautiful Portland is, I knew I had chosen the perfect program. Not only do I get the chance to volunteer my time to help and support other people, I have the opportunity to make a difference in the world and improve my own life. For example, in Portland there is a major housing crisis due to various issues that we are learning about in Tivnu. We saw that there was an affordable housing act that would give 258 million dollars to build 1,300 units of affordable housing. The Tinvu crew, along with the help of many other professionals and friends, went out to spread the word to voters in our community to vote “yes” on the affordable homes measure. The measure wound up passing and I was overjoyed because I felt like I helped contribute to doing some good in the world. I can tell you that there is no better feeling especially when you get the opportunity to do it with such incredible people!