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1. How did you get involved in social action?
My generation  produced the spokespersons and activists  who responded to the needs  of  many diverse populations and  never consciously "got involved" but rather did what had to be done because the need was there. We were not of that genre that thought about "getting involved." Learning about the "silence" that "screamed" in the post Holocaust years, we understood that it was up to us to be the spokespersons, activists and assertive citizens that would never remain silent while there were people in need of support.  I have found new ways to enable our students  to mobilize and address the issues confronting them.  "Standing idly by" is not an option, no matter the crises and Never Again is no longer a reference to the Shoah only. While 21st century tools are different and make "getting involved" much  easier  the courage and motivation to act  has become harder and I am steadfast in my dedication to pursue the goals implied by "getting Involved."

2. How have social action initiatives for youth changed since you began your work?
Our students are passionate young people and when motivated will respond.  They have, however, become far more insulated which seems odd in that electronic  communication has enabled us to cross time zones and continents easily.  Virtual communication has enhanced our students social networking skills but  has also somewhat dulled their senses. It is interesting, though , when we see how the recent revolutions in the Middle East were a result of the same electronic tools that seem to be thwarting our students'  hearing  the "call to action."

3. What are you most looking forward to at YouthCon?
At YouthCon, I am eager to hear from the professionals who are spearheading new organizations that are succeeding to use virtual communication tools to attract  rather than distract.

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DeeDee is responsible for developing multidisciplinary, theme-based educational programs that encourage dialogue and activism. She has planned and led student missions to destinations that offer challenging opportunities for interaction with diverse populations. DeeDee has also structured and implemented service programs for our students at hospitals, NY soup kitchens and at agencies that service children and adults with special needs. She has designed interactive music workshops with culturally diverse teenagers to promote tolerance.

Visit her website: http://www.ramaz.org/school_upper/index.cfm


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