NCSY teens visit Capitol, lobby legislators

A handful of Bay Area Jewish teens got a taste of real-world political lobbying this week when they participated in the annual Teen Advocacy Program trip to Sacramento.

State Assembly member Marc Levine (second from left) meets with Bay Area teens in Sacramento.

Sponsored by NCSY, the youth movement of the Orthodox Union, the program includes six weeks of education followed by a visit to the Capitol in Sacramento, which occurred on March 3.

The 18 participating teens met with state Senators Benjamin Allen (D-Los Angeles), Marty Block (D-San Diego) and Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield), Assembly members Marc Levine (D-Marin) and Brian Dahle (R-Redding), and aides for at least six additional senators and assembly members.

In the meetings, they lobbied on behalf of legislation promoting childhood vaccinations, financial aid for community college students, bicycle safety and promoting Holocaust memorial week in California.

“The teens researched the bills they were lobbying for and thanked the lawmakers and the senators for support,” said Rabbi Akiva Naiman, Northern California NCSY director. “This was their first experience of actual lobbying, and [the students] were offered internships at many offices.”

After the day of lobbying, the students attended a gala dinner at which they received certificates of completion of the program. The day’s itinerary was organized in part by Dan Cohen of Full Court Press Communications and Ali Zak of Oakland, a junior at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay in San Francisco. — j. staff