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Guest Blog by Sophia Carter: Freedom’s Feast Afterglow

Last month’s Freedom’s Feast, Lab Shul’s Interfaith Second Seder and Easter feast, was a huge success for me; not only was I inspired by everyone who shared a personal story of enslavement but I was also lucky enough to find the afikomen. In Lab Shul tradition, the prize for finding the afikomen was the honor of choosing an organization to donate a pool of money generously donated by everyone in attendance. We had all compiled a list of our favorite charities and there were 50 amazing organizations on the list.  Earlier in the evening I heard James Lecesne tell us the deeply moving story of why he founded The Trevor Project, an organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth. He told us that more than half of transgender teens have thought of taking their lives and one quarter have made a suicide attempt. As I was very moved by the mission of the project and the societal need it is addressing, I chose to give the money collected to them.  At the end of Freedom’s Feast I got to meet both James and Steve Mendelsohn, the New York Executive director, who offered to show me around The Trevor Project’s headquarters.  

sophia trevor project 2Last week, Amichai and I visited the Trevor Project offices with a check in hand. We were warmly greeted by Steve, who showed their offices, introduced us to their incredible staff, and told us how they use volunteers for a 24 hour hotline to help prevent teen suicide. I also got to speak by phone with Abbe Land, the Executive Director and CEO of the Trevor Project who is based in Los Angeles. To be able to work on the hotline there is a 40 hour training required, which I will unfortunately have to wait a few years until I’m 18 to participate in. I am grateful for the opportunity to visit the Trevor Project, contribute to them as part of our Lab Shul community, and increase my awareness around issues affecting my peers who are LGBTQ.

-Sophia Carter