Educating, engaging and empowering Jewish teens to STEP into leadership roles.


Sally and Sam Shapiro (z'l)  shared a vision to work with The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee to create a gateway for local Jewish teens to become engaged with their community, their Judaism and their connection to Israel. That vision has become a reality with the creation of STEP—The Shapiro Teen Engagement program.


STEP’s service, learning, and leadership programs, enable students to build their academic resumes and fulfill The Jewish Federation’s ongoing commitment to nurture exploration of Jewish life and identity.  Graduates of the STEP program have continued to stay involved in Jewish life through participation in Hillel, Birthright, AIPAC, StandWithUs, study abroad and gap years in Israel.  They have become youth group advisors, camp counselors, Jewish educators and more.  This long term investment in our youth teaches them the importance of giving back and prepares them to become the next generation of Jewish leaders.





STEP is open to Jewish high school students from Sarasota and Manatee counties. Many events are free and there are no attendance requirements to participate in the program. 



Better Together is an intergenerational partnership between STEP teens and seniors from Aviva: A Campus for Senior Life. Make a difference in your own community and in the lives of elders who have been isolated from family and friends for more than 6 months because of the COVID pandemic. 


The program will be ongoing between October and February beginning with a series of 3 sessions with your teen cohort to prepare you to build a meaningful relationship with your elder and followed by 4 activity sessions when you, or you and a buddy, will be paired up with an elder from Aviva for interactive, but virtual, exchanges. Some ideas for these virtual exchanges are recipe swaps, craft projects, discussions about current events or social justice issues, book review discussions, holiday celebrations, and more. 


There is no cost to participate in this program, and you will receive community service hours, but you must be able to participate in the program in its entirety. Students will spend an average of two hours per week on the project and will be expected to plan their time accordingly.  Program dates below include specific dates and times for prescheduled sessions, as well as, weeks when teens will prepare a video or activity at home to share with their elder.


Program Dates:

  • Tuesday, October 20, 4:00-5:00 p.m. 
  • Tuesday, October 27, 4:00-5:00 p.m. 
  • Tuesday, November 3, 4:00-5:00 p.m. 
  • Week of November 16, 2020
  • Week of November 29, 2020
  • Week of December 13, 2020
  • Week of January 4, 2021
  • Thursday, January 28, 4:00-6:00 p.m. 
  • Tuesday, February 2, 4:00-5:00 PM


Scroll the feed below to view the upcoming STEP events. Click the “Find Out More” button to view details of the listing.





For more information, please contact