Elana Loeffler, 23
Like many high school seniors in her world, Elana Loeffler spent a year in Israel after graduation. Unlike others, she wanted to serve. Most Israel programs included a service component of, at most, a day a week, and sometimes, as little as a day a month.
“I wanted more,” she said.
She found what she was looking for at AMIT, a network of religious youth villages, surrogate family residences and other programs for children who either don’t have guardians, or whose families have been deemed unfit to care for them.
During Loeffler’s year in Israel, she lived with a group of other young women on the top floor of one of AMIT’s group homes, where she interspersed Judaic studies with life with the kids, helping them to study, and putting them to sleep.
But when she came home, she found herself back where she started from: without an outlet for her desire to help others.
“You have time on your hands, you’re always looking for opportunities and things to do, but there wasn’t an organization that took advantage of this age group,” she said.
So she decided not to leave AMIT behind and instead started, as a sophomore at Stern College, the first chapter of AMIT for students.
Through a series of fundraisers, the AMIT Future Leaders Initiative, or AFLI, has both generated awareness of AMIT’s work and collected $110,300 for the organization. The money supported both the organization as a whole and helped support three educational facilities, each of which bears a plaque thanking AFLI.
“Taking a little bit of money out of what you might use to go out one night can really do a lot,” Loeffler said.
At the bar: Loeffler had always dreamed of being a lawyer, and always planned to do criminal law. But her work with AMIT prompted her to switch her focus at New York Law School to family law. This summer she will be interning in Kings County Family Court. Bad dream: Before every AFLI event, Loeffler felt like she was throwing a party and would fret that nobody would come.