Clara Davidson (they/them), 8th grader at Valley Preparatory School and founder of Q.T. Wellness, shares their experience as a recipient of our Federation’s Los Angeles Jewish Teen Initiative (LAJTI) The Julie Platt Teen Innovation Grants (TIG). These awards offer prizes up to $1,500 to empower teens to explore something they are passionate about and turn their ideas into reality. With these awards, we support and encourage teens to take risks, be creative, and experiment.
What was the most impactful part of being a Teen Innovation Grants recipient?
My relationship with my mentor Marlee Goldshine — she has taught me so much about taking care of myself and others and how to implement acts of loving kindness into the work that I do. I am grateful for our partnership as mentor and mentee.
How will you take what you learned from your experience and implement it in future endeavors?
I plan to further develop Q.T. Wellness into a larger branched organization and teen resource. At Q.T. Wellness, our goal is to break the stigma that self-care is selfish. Q.T. Wellness is an organization for LGBTQ2SIA+ youth. We help teens develop a relationship with their mental, physical, and emotional wellness through an accepting community, providing wellness resources, and connecting teens to wellness role models. Our programming is inspired by Jewish tikkun olam values. I look forward to implementing my newfound dedication, work/life balance awareness, and people skills into my future endeavors.
Have you participated in any LAJTI or Federation programs prior to the Teen Innovation Grants?
As a little kid, my JBBBSLA older sister Meredith helped me to grow as a person. We would take breaks from the “real world” and enjoy yummy food, have impactful conversations, and visit fun places. One of the most memorable activities we did together was when we went to a waterpark with my friend and her JBBBSLA big sister. Meredith and I explored the world together through asking each other deep questions. I am so grateful for all that she has taught me and all that the JBBBSLA programming offered to us. I can say with pride that The Jewish Federation of Los Angeles has benefited my life! All in all, I am inspired every day to do mitzvot and make our world a better place for future generations thanks to my Jewish Identity and experiences.
What would you say to any teen who has an idea but doesn’t know about the Julie Beren Platt Teen Innovation Grants?
The Julie Beren Platt Teen Innovation Grants program provides an amazing opportunity for young, creative, Jewish teens with project ideas from creating safe spaces, allowing creative expression, exploring Jewish roots, doing acts of mitzvot, and so much more.
What were the biggest challenges you faced because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how did being a TIG recipient help you address them?
One of the biggest challenges most teens faced during the pandemic was social isolation. While older generations thought at the beginning of the pandemic that it was going to be mentally harder for them to switch to online platforms, it was later shown that teens struggled profusely. As a teen exploring my own mental health and wellness journey, being a TIG recipient has helped me to aid other teens who were experiencing social isolation and a lack of sense of community and those were seeking to develop new tools and relationships with their health and wellness. I am so grateful for all that I have accomplished thanks to the LAJTI Julie Beren Platt Teen Innovation Grants and programming!