Pittsburgh Local, Peyton Klein Recieves National Award; A $36,000 Grant for Giving Voice to World's Most Underserved Populations

One of 15 recipients across the country, 16-year-old Peyton Klein of Taylor Allderdice High School was awarded the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award last week for her creation of the Global Minds Initiative. The program combats the issues of cultural intolerance, ignorance and discrimination through one-on-one after school tutoring and activities with English as a Second Language (ESL) and Native English Speaking (NES) students.

The Helen Diller Family Foundation, a supporting foundation of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties, announced June 14, 2018 the recipients of its annual Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards. Now in its 12th year, the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards have given more than $4 million dollars to 114 Jewish teens who are tackling global issues and creating lasting change through tikkun olam.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has a relationship with the Helen Diller Family Foundation due to its support of the Diller Teen Fellows program, a separate program of the Helen Diller Family Foundation that engages teens from Pittsburgh and our Partnership2Gether region of Karmiel and Misgav, in exploration of leadership, Jewish identity, Israel and other values. The Jewish Federation supports the Diller Teen Fellows program through the Community Campaign and the program is implemented by our agency partner, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh.

“The Jewish Federation is a proud local partner to the Helen Diller Family Foundation and we are extraordinarily proud of Peyton for receiving this honor and the good work that she is doing,” said Debbie Swartz, Overseas Planning Associate of the Jewish Federation.

Since the founding of Global Minds Initiative in 2016, Klein has worked hard to expand the organization to 13 schools across the country and in New Brunswick, Canada. “I’m so honored to be an award recipient,” said Peyton. “I think that this award doesn’t just represent Global Minds, but the power of student leadership.”

This year’s awards recipients are the creators of non-profit organizations, widely adopted school curriculums, student-led volunteer programs, and more that address issues from school bullying, sexual harassment and sexism, to health disparities, homelessness, and discrimination. Each awardee will receive $36,000 in support of their philanthropic vision.

Full descriptions of all 15 Award recipients and their initiatives can be found at: www.dillerteenawards.org.

Klein started Global Minds Initiative after noticing the issues of cultural intolerance and the exclusion of immigrants and refugees at her own high school. She was inspired after getting to know her classmate Khwala and discovering her experience as a refugee and the newfound knowledge of the challenges she faced on a daily basis.

“At the time I was working on Clinton campaign, and believed in diversity and equality, but I wasn’t living by those beliefs,” said Klein. “I went to the English as Second Language classroom with Khwala, conducted focus groups and then we dreamed up Global Minds Initiative. We started with 10 people at our very first meeting and have grown to a group of over 80 people.”

The Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards began in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2007 as the vision of Bay Area philanthropist Helen Diller. The Diller Teen Awards recognize Jewish teens demonstrating and exemplifying the spirit of tikkun olam, a central Jewish value meaning “repair the world.” Since 2007, the program has awarded more than $4 million to 114 teens in recognition of their vision, innovation, and demonstration of leadership.

Past recipients continue to inspire their peers to follow in their tikkun olamfootsteps and create meaningful relationships with new awardees through networking and mentorship. Many past recipients have also been recognized by some of the most prestigious institutions and leaders, including the United Nations Foundation, the Jefferson Awards, the Prudential Spirit Of Community Awards, The White House, and former President Barack Obama.

The 2018 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards recipients were selected by committees comprised of community leaders and educators located in cities around the country. Candidates completed detailed applications describing their Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards 2018 projects, goals, impact, inspirations and challenges, fundraising tactics and major accomplishments.

The 2018 recipients encourage anyone interested in nominating a teen to begin the nomination process at www.dillerteenawards.org.

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