17-year old Jessica Goldberg is a recipient of the Diller Teen Tikkun OlamAward and will receive a $36,000 award to recognize her work for her project Performing for Pencils, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides disadvantaged students with the supplies they need to be successful learners by hosting an annual talent show to build community awareness and raise funds. Now in its tenth year, the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards have given more than $3 million dollars to 84 Jewish teens who are tackling global issues and creating lasting change through tikkun olam – the vision of Bay Area Philanthropist Helen Diller, the founder of The Helen Diller Family Foundation.
As an actor and dancer herself, Jessica was inspired to combine her love for the arts and education to gather fellow performers from across the St. Louis area to host an annual high school community talent show. In August 2013, Jessica co-founded Performing for Pencils with a fellow student to provide critical financial support to struggling schools, as well as having raised important awareness of social justice issues, and building bridges across racial and socioeconomic divisions in a city torn apart by violence and distrust. Performing for Pencils aims to help the 90,000 students in St. Louis afford school supplies for the upcoming year.
Jessica is one of 14 teens who’ve been recognized for being empowering young, socially-minded leaders who’ve successfully worked for change on issues from health disparities to economic inequalities, education gaps to bullying and ignorance. Descriptions of all 14 Award recipients and their projects can be found at: www.dillerteenawards.org.
Last summer, Jessica was featured on FOX St. Louis discussing Performing for Pencils and the impact on the local community: https://fox2now.com/2015/08/09/theater-teens-team-up-to-help-those-in-need-buy-school-supplies/
Building on the $35,000 that she has raised so far, Jessica ultimately hopes to position Performing for Pencils as the catalyst for changing the lives of kids who are in need of a helping hand. Most notably, Jessica’s organization was awarded a 2016 Princeton Prize in Race Relations for creating opportunities for students to heal racial divisions and build meaningful, lasting alliances and friendships among different racial and cultural groups.
2016 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award Release: https://www.dillerteenawards.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/2016-Diller-TOA-Press-Release-FINAL-06-23-16.pdf