NEW YORK –The Orthodox Union’s Project Community (PC20) is launching the “Perfect Pair” program to connect teens with seniors beginning July 20 to create important friendship and bonds between teens and older adults. PC20 is the Orthodox Union’s response to summer program closures that is providing teens with an impactful summer of growth and communal service. The program is launching with 30 pairs of teens and seniors from 24 cities around the country.
Perfect Pair was inspired by Max Frohlich, a 17-year-old Boca Raton teen. During the COVID-19 quarantine this spring, he paired up close to 60 teens with senior citizens to help them with technology, errands and friendship. Frohlich’s inspiration was his own relationship with his great-grandmother, who piqued his curiosity and interest for math through their time spent together and her passion for math and business.
Understanding that seniors have a wealth of knowledge and life experiences that can enhance the lives of teens, Max jumped at the opportunity to partner with PC20 to create “Perfect Pairs.” The program’s focus is to create mutually beneficial relationships between seniors and teens by sharing their wisdom and life experience while also serving as a forum for teens to reach out to seniors who are staying home to mitigate exposure to COVID-19. At the end of the summer, pairs may choose to create a video interview or essay about the wisdom, values or life experience that has influenced the teen.
Many of the participating seniors are members of the OU’s Spirit program that provides dynamic zoom classes and programs for retirees. Frohlich has personally recruited 50 teens for the launch of the initiative.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily postponing so many of our religious and social events, seniors have the time to share their knowledge and life experience with teens, and our teens are in most cases home for the summer and eager to learn,” said Orthodox Union President Moishe Bane. “We are pleased to see the strong interest from our teens and look forward to the joint living legacy project that are created.”
“From the beginning, our vision in creating PC20 was to foster a summer of chesed and unite our wider community. Perfect Pair brings together teens and seniors in just this spirit – learning from each other, sharing experiences and creating a lasting connection between generations,” added Orthodox Union Executive Vice President Rabbi Moshe Hauer.
Pairs will meet virtually once a week. Seniors can sign up at: https://pc20.org/programs/perfectpair/
Founded in 1898, the Orthodox Union, (OU), serves as the voice of American Orthodox Jewry, with over 400 congregations in its synagogue network. As the umbrella organization for American Orthodox Jewry, the OU is at the forefront of advocacy work on both state and federal levels, outreach to Jewish teens and young professionals through NCSY, Israel Free Spirit Birthright, Yachad and OU Press, among many other divisions and programs.