A 2-Way Partnership of Learning – and Growth

Posted on April 15, 2024

There’s one NCSY program that rarely makes the headlines, but it’s changing lives every single day. The longstanding LOL program (literally “Learn OnLine,”) pairs teens with NCSY’s college-age, volunteer advisors for weekly learning and mentorship.

Brooke Sanderson (l.), a 17-year-old junior at Goldie Margolin School for Girls in Memphis, TN, is one of them. She has been learning “Olam Hamiddos,” a Jewish work on character development, with Advisor Ali Lenefsky.

“I often find myself thinking of the things I have learned over the years with Ali and applying them to my daily life,” says Brooke.

Ali, a 21-year-old West Hempstead, NY, native pursuing a degree in social work, agrees, saying that learning with Brooke “has definitely impacted my life and daily actions.”

“I also learn so much by speaking to Brooke and watching her amazing middos,” Ali adds.

Both say the relationship goes far beyond the actual Torah study.

I often find myself looking to Ali for advice on various aspects of my life, whether it be what I should do with my summer, religious aspects of my life, school, etc.,” Brooke explains. “I know that Ali will always be there for me if I need her, and she is a great role model to me and someone that I very much look up to.”

“For her part, Ali, who mentors several NCSYers, says the program gives her the chance “to give back” what she’s learned from her own role models and teachers.

“I believe the teens I mentor change my life,” she says. “Their passion and excitement for learning inspires me to grow in my own [Judaism.] They give me the strength to keep working on myself, and they teach me more than I can ever try teaching them.”