Intermountain Jewish News

Oct 07th

Dallas teen notices when help is needed

E-mail Print PDF

Dalya Romaner

Teen Hero

WASHINGTON — As a young child, Dalya Romaner learned to appreciate her surroundings and lend a hand when people were in need.

“I am very fortunate,” said Romaner, 18, a high school senior at Yavneh Academy in Dallas.

“And I appreciate the people who have made my city and community what it is. I learned that I need to notice what’s around and when [people] need help.”

For the past two years, Romaner has led Helping Hands for the Homeless, a student-run nonprofit that a Yavneh student started four years ago.

Each month, Romaner convenes a group of 20-25 students who raise money and volunteer at local homeless shelters. They have packed backpacks with donated school supplies and spent afternoons doing arts and crafts and playing in nearby playgrounds with children living at the shelters.

This year, however, the students wanted to focus their fundraising efforts on a special project. Through phone calls and educational events, they raised over $20,000 to help start a Montessori learning program at Family Gateway, a shelter and service provider for homeless families in Dallas.

“It was something unique and has never been done in Texas,” Romaner said of the Montessori program. “It doesn’t get a lot of attention and we wanted to help them get it off the ground.”

The money raised will go into the program’s general operating fund, she said. “[The program] is still in the beginning stages, but that’s when the money is most needed.”

Romaner will graduate soon from high school — but not before handing over the reins of Helping Hands for the Homeless to her younger sister and two boys. She plans to spend the summer working as a nanny before heading to Israel for the year and then attending Brandeis University.

Reflecting on her impact with Helping Hands for the Homeless, she said, “It was really nice sitting with the kids doing beading as they understood that there are people who think about them and want to help.”

Romaner spoke recently to JTA about her biggest influences, her go-to iPhone apps and her thoughts on tikkun olam.

Who or what have been the biggest influences in your life?

My grandparents. They are very big in the Jewish community here [in Dallas]. They are very involved. They convinced me to get involved in the volunteering that I do.

Can you share with us a meaningful Jewish experience that you’ve had?

I just got back from the March of the Living. The entire trip was really incredible. I felt very lucky to be living right now.

What’s your favorite Jewish holiday?

Passover, because every year my family spends 10 days together in a hotel in Phoenix. It’s nice to be away from the world.

What apps do you use most on your iPhone?

WhatsApp Messenger for texting with my friends and Facebook. I do a lot of online shopping and social media.

What do you think you want to be doing when you “grow up”?

I’m considering going into something related to politics and advocacy, but I don’t know what that’s going to be yet.

Now that you are graduating, what advice would you give to your successors at Helping Hands for the Homeless?

Appreciate what people are giving you. To some, $18 is a lot. The thought that goes into giving is tremendous. Without tikkun olam, we don’t have a future.

This interview is part of a series on Jewish teen spearheading community service projects. Read the other interviews in the series with Zak Kukoff, Daniel Rosenthal, Nicholas Lowinger, Olivia Kessler and Matthew Baratz.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 09 April 2015 12:03 )  

IJN e-Edition

This is only a taste! Get full access to the IJN via our e-Edition, only $14.04 for IJN Print subscribers.

E-Edition subscribers get access to a complete digital replica of the IJN, which includes all special sections.

Get the IJN's free newsletter!

Shabbat Times

JTA News

The Mets-Dodgers series is so Jewish, congressmen are betting bagels on it

Ron Kampeas Not just any bagels – fresh bagels. ... [Link]

Ben Bernanke memoir: Classmates thought I had Jew horns

Ron Kampeas The former Fed chief remembers it being worse for blacks when he was growing up in South Carolina. ... [Link]

For Doctors Without Borders strike, US declines to give itself Israel treatment

Ben Sales An American bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital drew comparisons to Israel’s 2014 shelling of U.N. facilities. ... [Link]

Howard Stern rips Roger Waters over BDS support

Marcy Oster The radio personality’s rant was motivated by an open letter published by the former Pink Floyd frontman criticizing rocker Jon Bon Jovi for performing in Tel Aviv. ... [Link]

Chantal Akerman, pioneer of feminist filmmaking, dies at 65

Marcy Oster Akerman, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, made more than 40 films and in recent years explored her Jewish identity. ... [Link]

Major oil reserves discovered on Golan Heights

Marcy Oster The rock in the southern Golan could provide for Israel’s oil needs for many years. ... [Link]

Netanyahu cancels summit in Germany over Israel’s security situation

Marcy Oster A new date has not been chosen for the official visit to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic ties. ... [Link]

Palestinian teen in Jerusalem stabs Jewish man, he shoots her  

Marcy Oster The attack came hours after an Israeli woman was injured when Palestinians threw rocks at her car on a road near Jerusalem and then attempted to to drag her out of her car. ... [Link]

Intermountain Jewish News • 1177 Grant Street • Denver, CO 80203 • 303 861 2234 • FAX 303 832 6942 • •