Beyond 2020-Now What?! Engaging Young Adults in Jewish Cincinnati

Jul 13, 2018

It’s no secret that young adults in 2018 are a unique bunch. As such, it is inevitable that along with our distinctions often come varying character perceptions from other age groups. Some view us as a confusing generation of individuals who are “enamored with gadgets” (direct quote from my grandpa), perpetually taking selfies, online dating, and refusing to settle down. Others see a forward-thinking people who value philanthropy, the environment, staying “woke,” and who – yes – spend a lot of time with technology. Whatever the impression, today’s young adults have special interests that differ from other generations and must be addressed in order to ensure a vibrant community for the future. 

In an effort to get to know this population a bit better, staff at the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati and Young Adult Division (YAD) board member Ariella Cohen put their heads together and decided to create a series of focus groups consisting of Jews and any non-Jewish partners between the ages of 21 and 45, over a six month period. The goal was to provide low pressure brainstorming opportunities focused on improving Jewish Cincinnati as it pertains to young people, culminating in an initiative called Beyond 2020.

 

In the months following the Beyond 2020 event, YAD professionals and other young adults developed solutions to address the needs and desires of the young adult community in Jewish Cincinnati.

Wanting to involve as many as possible, the Beyond 2020 team set out with their “just show up” motto, recruiting anyone who would listen. Thankfully, after a lot of phone calling, texting, and Facebook messaging, show up we did. The “just” part, however, is debatable, as 300 young adults engaged in the meaningful sharing of thoughts and ideas, truly capable of affecting the community for years to come.

The incredible show of passion for community enrichment throughout this process has been truly inspiring and has provided some amazing insights into the priorities of this generation. Interestingly enough, a few themes arose and remained consistent across all groups, essentially boiling down to four perceived barriers between young adults and the community—a lack of overall knowledge regarding YA programs/events and other community happenings, a collective hesitation to attend events alone or where familiar faces could be scarce, the wish to engage in specific activities geared toward specific interests, and wanting to become acquainted with fresh faces in a purely social setting. 

Now that the first stage of this initiative has concluded, there can be no more guessing as to what our generation is looking for, both Jewishly and communally. Finally, after months of planning, gathering information, and more planning, the Beyond 2020 team is beyond excited to announce that we’re moving forward with concrete plans to address our needs and improve Jewish Cincinnati. The process will begin by creating a brand new solution for each need, just for young adults. 

HERE THEY ARE!

WEBSITE: A one-stop-shop information hub that showcases all things young adult, such as events/programs, Welcoming Committee & Meet-Up info, volunteer opportunities, best places to live in the city, Cincy entertainment, and much more. 

WELCOMING AMBASSADORS: A group of young adult ambassadors who will greet newcomers and Cincinnati natives by orienting them with the city and helping them connect to the community. 

MEET-UPS: Grassroots get-togethers created by and for young adults, aimed at fulfilling niche interests and hobbies while providing a chance to build relationships with like-minded individuals. 

SOCIAL EVENT: One large-scale social gathering for all young adults in the community. 

NOW WHAT? 

The Beyond 2020 team is on it and have already begun building the Website, with the goal of unveiling it this summer at the Social Event. Additionally, a committee is currently being formed that will help plan this exciting kick-off event. 

Next on the docket are Meet-Ups, which I’m happy to say, are already being planned and will be communicated primarily through Facebook until our website is up and running. 

Lastly, Welcoming Ambassadors have yet to be officially determined, and we are definitely open to suggestions!

The future of our community is truly in all of our hands, and I can’t wait to see where we lead it. 

To get involved by creating your own Meet-Up or becoming an ambassador, please contact Missy Goldstein at mgoldstein@jfedcin.org or 513-985-2961, or Jaynie Levinson at jlevinson@jfedcin.org or 513-985-1518.


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