COVID-19 Faith in the Vaccine Ambassador Program

Meeting the Need

In response to the growing need for vaccine access in certain underserved populations, Hebrew College’s Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership and Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) have teamed up to pioneer a new COVID-19 Faith in the Vaccine Ambassadors Program. IFYC is spearheading the project nationally, and Hebrew College is organizing the Greater Boston effort.

 

Rabbi Or Rose, Director of the Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership at Hebrew College

We are honored to work with IFYC and local Boston partners to empower youth and young adults from diverse walks of life to engage in this sacred and urgent public health campaign.

Background

vax site

The arrival of effective vaccines marks a transitional moment of hope in the COVID-19 crisis. However, two significant challenges emerged in the move from vaccine to vaccination, accessibility  to and trust of the vaccine within certain subsets of the American population. While African  American, Native American, and Latino/a/x communities are particularly ravaged by COVID-19,  they also have less access to and in some cases are less likely to trust the vaccine. Politically and religiously conservative white communities, often evangelical, are also less likely to trust the  vaccine. National research shows that individuals in all these groups are more likely to be  connected to religious communities, which are vast sources of trust and social capital.

The Response

Interfaith leaders from religiously diverse institutions have a unique opportunity to promote vaccine trust and increase accessibility.

Student Ambassadors will begin the program by participating in a training designed and led by IFYC. They will then work with the Program Coordinator and Lead Organizer to plan and implement accessibility and trust-building projects in high need communities with which they are connected. Ideal student participants for the Ambassador program will have a personal connection to communities where vaccine hesitancy is high. Ambassadors will have the opportunity to develop their own plans to  address hesitancy or access with the guidance of mentors.

Omari Jahi Aarons

Omari is a Howard Thurman Fellow at Boston University School of Theology where is pursuing his Master of Divinity in Global and Community Engagement. He serves as president of the Association of Black Seminarians.

A licensed minister in the AME Church, Omari is the director of social action at Charles Street AME Church, a chaplain resident at Boston Medical Center, and co-chair of the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Massachusetts Board of Directors.


 

Muhammad Abdur-Rahman

“I’m a student, a junior in high school, and a brother to lots of siblings, eight in total, and while those roles definitely aren’t over-the-top abundant, they are the most prominent in my life at the moment. I went to an Islamic school for the majority of my time in the classroom, only entering a secular one in Boston for high school. The differences between the two I could write about for eons. Most of my work experience, though, comes from my time at the science museum as interpreter for exhibits from the Discovery Center, for little kids as young as you can be, and the Hall Human Life, for ages up to as old as you can get. The through-line for my work there is that I did a lot of walking and talking; people came to me to learn things and I went to them to teach things.

“While I like to think my work experience sounds professional, everything else just slots into movie-watching. I took a film analysis course; I am passionate about film. I spend nights on cable with my family; I am entertained by film. I also like cooking and playing with my younger siblings, but since they are respectively too expensive and too casual to call ‘hobbies,’ you can sum up the rest of my interests as just film, in general.”


BrookeLynn Acevedo

“I am a high school sophomore who is interested in STEM, activism, and law. I have been interested in all of these subjects for a very long time and I am happy to finally find a source to combine them all! In school, I am in the Early Engineering STEM Design Pathway, which I was able to apply for and make it into. This is the only pathway that allows early access at my school. It is where I have learned all I know about Engineering and STEM, as we have special resources made for us. We compete in many competitions throughout the year and I had applied to one that involved coding, engineering, problem solving, and logical thinking. I had to code an instrument to pick up as much coral as it could before its battery died. I entered this into a statewide competition sponsored by Mass STEM Hub. I won first place and it was my first time placing in a statewide competition. But besides my academics, I also help volunteer with my local softball recreational youth girls league and it’s one of my favorite activities to get involved with; I have done it for the past three years.

“I am super excited for this program because during this entire pandemic, when talking to family and friends (about the vaccine), I was faced with lots of hesitancy and opposition. I am super thrilled to get people more educated and informed on the vaccine; so they will be more inclined to get it!”


Monalisa Almeida

“I am currently a junior in high school, from Rockland, Massachusetts. At my school, I am a part of the math team and a member of the National Honors Society. Some hobbies of mine include sports and art. I am captain of my school’s varsity tennis and soccer team. I love drawing and sketching out random objects I see. If there is ever a project or a poster needed to be made, I am the first to volunteer. In addition, for the past year, I have been tutoring elementary and middle schoolers, mentoring them in all levels of math and other subjects. I also translate and interpret Portuguese sermons at my local church, Weymouth Foursquare Church. My church is predominantly Brazilian, but it is open to all. I make sure that all the visitors and non-Portuguese speaking members can understand and enjoy the mass.”


Noor Baig

“My name is Noor Baig and I am a junior at Harvard University. I am studying Neurobiology with a secondary field in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Born and raised in Chicago, I attended Marian Catholic High School, where I graduated as valedictorian, was a state finalist for Impromptu Speaking, and played lacrosse. I was also named an Illinois State Scholar. At Harvard, I am involved in research related to sleep medicine, ophthalmology, and women’s health in developing nations. I am also the Academic Section Editor of Harvard Yearbook Publications and work for the Global Research and Consulting Group to aid human rights organizations.

“My work is inspired by my interest in people and their cultures. I love learning new languages and can currently speak five different ones! After Harvard, I plan to attend medical school to ultimately become a surgeon. In addition to surgery, I hope to continue medical outreach and policy work in order to make healthcare equitable and accessible for marginalized communities. Outside of my academic interests, I enjoy painting, exercising, spending time with family and friends, and trying new food!”


Kawtar Benlekbir

“Being the oldest child and only daughter to immigrant parents, I represent teenagers with different family dynamics. Taking on more leadership roles in the family makes me realize things in a different perspective and appreciate the immigrant struggle. With the layered aspect of being a Muslim American woman, my identity is significant to me. My identity has forced me into spaces in which I often have to justify who I am, which is why I am passionate about racial inequality. I’m intrigued with stories from different communities than mine which is why I enjoy reading poetry from the perspectives of underrepresented communities. I also like to paint, journal, and listen to music.

“Values that are important to me are respect, open mindedness, and kindness. I believe that with these values, safe and comfortable spaces can be created to discuss a wide range of topics. Along with creating a safe space where people can share their opinions, I believe that leaning into discomfort is an experience needed to facilitate these discussions. With the correct boundaries set, these uncomfortable discussions should be had in order to begin to recognize complex issues that many are facing. Whether these issues deal with race, politics, or religion, I think they’re important to discover. I enjoy giving back to the community and helping make resources accessible to those who need it most. Especially when struggles people are facing are heightened during difficult times such as the pandemic, I feel fulfilled when I use my skills to help others.”


Gavi_BerkmanMy name is Gavi Berkman. I am a rising sophomore at Newton North High School. I have many interests, and some of my hobbies include playing soccer, playing the guitar, writing, and learning about the world. Being helpful and volunteering is a very important value of mine, and I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to work with this program!


Izaiah Berry

“My name is Izaiah Berry. I am an 18-year-old Black teen, and I want to go to college! It would be an understatement to say that my senior year in high school has not entirely gone as planned. I have spent the last several months of my secondary education in my virtual classroom—a.k.a., my bedroom. No junior prom, no SATs, no senior prom, no first day of senior year, and no senior trip. Fortunately, everything about my life journey thus far has prepared me to deal with whatever comes. I am ready for college!

“I started my formal schooling in the South. The slow and steady pace worked for me because I struggled to learn and often felt that learning seemed easy for the students around me. I was trying my darndest to do the work. It did not come easy, and I struggled through the best I could. In 2016, due to my maternal grandmother’s health issues, we relocated to Boston; I will admit the move was not easy for me; I missed my friends, my home, and my school. After graduating from middle school, I ended up at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, an affluent community, through a program designed to provide integrated school experiences for sending and receiving school systems. It was there, for the first time, that I had a full evaluation, had an IEP developed for me, received the appropriate necessary support. From there, my educational experience just soared to unimaginable heights. I enjoyed school, learning, and, more importantly, learned to advocate for myself. It helped that I am a focused and disciplined person.

“Another thing that happened for me in high school once I was given the new lease that the IEP afforded me was the opportunity to be able to handle my school work and to participate in other activities, as well. I volunteer during the holidays, preparing and distributing food boxes every year at the local food pantry in Boston. I participated in Lincoln-Sudbury Track & Field and the Lincoln-Sudbury Varsity Competitive Cheer Squad and, in the fall of 2019, I was named a Dual County League All-Star. I had hoped to be able to parlay my cheer activity into a college scholarship. Not being able to cheer in my senior year has certainly changed that plan, but I am optimistic that I will still get a chance to cheer before my college experience is over.

“I was raised by a single mom who is totally invested in my success. I learned dedicated advocacy from her. I use those skills to advocate not just for myself, but for others. Service to others is and has always been a thing in my family. For several years, I have been an active member of Concerned Black Men of Massachusetts. This organization was created by an impressive group of multi-disciplined Black males who have challenged, nurtured, and guided me on many life realities and mainly focused on me as a Black male in this environment. I am also a member of the Lincoln-Sudbury Racial Climate Task Force and the Lincoln-Sudbury Class of 2021 Steering Committee, a youth member of the Boston NAACP, and a member of the Beacon Academy Annual Symposium on Race and Class.”


Krystal Capers

Krystal is a dedicated public health professional with extensive experience in research, including a strong knowledge of the IRB approval process, participant screening, and recruitment, and data analysis. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering and a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology.

Krystal has a background in student coaching, advising, and support and strives to empower people to reach their goals. As a member of We Got Us’ Education and Curriculum team, Krystal hopes to spread awareness about the COVID-19 vaccines and to empower minority communities with public health measures to reduce the number of minorities affected by COVID-19.


Anthony Cruz

Anthony is an avid reader and “tries not to get too engrossed in too many technical texts.” When he is not thinking about theology, culture, and society, or existential questions, Anthony enjoys a strong brew of Cafe Bustelo coffee with a dash of honey. He is also curious about self-care practices that are not overly commercialized.


Tracy Daz

“My name is Tracy Das, and I am from Waltham, Massachusetts. I’m a first-generation high honor roll student and plan to major in International Relations & Finance, on a Pre-law track! I believe community involvement is imperative in all aspects. Service is my drive, and I have met incredible people in the process. I’ve had the pleasure of being a Waltham Partnership For Youth Trailblazer and a summer intern for Newton Wellesley Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Department of Community Service at Brandeis University. I am also a Student Ambassador for the United Nations Association of Greater Boston, a Statewide Leader for the 84 Movement, a  Waltham High School Track member, a Black Students Union member, an African American/Latino Scholar, and so forth!

“I want to continue to serve as a student voice for youth programs and to impact those in my community and throughout the Greater Boston Area. As a Student Ambassador for the COVID-19 Faith in the Vaccine program, I plan on taking action steps to reduce increasing racial and health inequities heightened by COVID-19.”


Phyls Eutsay

“My name is Phyls Eutsay. I attend Boston Arts Academy I am a junior fashion major. I love making abstract art and art in general. I love to give back to those in need and to help service and give back to my community. My favorite subject is science because I love how science has evolved and grown into what it is today and how people use it in their daily lives to help others and help themselves.”


Terra Frederick

Terra Frederick is a third-year M.Div student at Boston University School of Theology. Terra is a certified candidate for Elder Ordination in the United Methodist Church. Terra is an award-winning knitter who enjoys knitting socks the most. She enjoys long walks in bookstores with iced coffee in hand.


Ira Habiba 

“My name is Ira Habiba and I’m a sophomore at North Quincy High School. I currently work at Panera Bread as barista/cashier, so I have experience doing both. I’m the vice president of my school’s sewing club as well as the secretary for the debate club. I’m also in AFJROTC; though I’m terrible with uniform and drill, it’s given me a look into what real discipline looks like. I’m also the VP of a teen-led library organization; as part of that program I created a podcast where I talk about my community and school.

“I enjoy taking the lead because it gives me the chance I need to better myself as a student and get to know my fellow peers. I also like participating in group activities as it pushes me to talk to people who I would otherwise never talk to.

“Some hobbies I have are painting and photography; I actually take photography as an elective! It’s really fun and acts as a creative outlet for me in school. I love science but I also love mystery so the two careers that I’m interested in are forensic criminology and epidemiology.

“My biggest aspiration is to be rich enough to raise a family of cats and give them their own room in my home. I love helping people and making new friends so I’m always looking for things where I can do both!”


Kasey Kelly

“My pronouns are she/her and they/them. I am 26 years old hard of hearing person with a cochlear implant. I was adopted from China when I was an 8-month-old baby. I grew up in the United Methodist as a Pastor’s kid in North Carolina. I speak English and sign American Sign Language. After taking a gap year for an internship at Washington DC, I came to Boston for a graduate school program in August 2019. I am a full-time student in a dual degree program with a Masters’ of Divinity and Social Work, focusing on the Macro track.

“I got the first dose of the Moderna vaccine in February and finished the second dose in March 2021 because of my social work position. My mom demonstrated how a community is essential and being there for each other through her sermons. I felt hesitant that I got the vaccine before my mom could get hers at her home state. However, my mom reassured me and stated that I should accept the spot because it would save lives and slow down the spreading. Thankfully, my mom has finally got her completed doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. I hope that this community will come together and protect each other from Covid-19 by being fully vaccinated individuals.”


Sarah Knotts

“My name is Sarah Knotts and I was born and raised in Boston. I am an undergraduate student at Boston University interested in pursuing a career in public health. I have been working at the Boston Public Health Commission for a year now as a Youth Organizer on a campaign extending mental health resources at Boston Latin Academy. I was driven by my own struggles with mental health in high school and realizing wellness resources are lacking across the public schools as a whole. I helped create the Health Comes First Campaign, which has already impacted the lives of 1,800 students at Boston Latin Academy by getting the majority of teachers to vote on a schedule for the 2021-2022 school year with two non-instructional blocks for students to support their wellness. With the Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative, I am leading outreach efforts as we plan our annual Youth R.I.S.E. Rally, which surrounds gun violence prevention, as well as youth advocacy and connecting young people to leadership opportunities. This work has taught me that one of the social determinants of health is directly tied to the physical environment.

“I believe contributing to a community’s well being is a vital part of promoting healthier neighborhoods. I have learned the importance of collaboration, as I know that everyone I meet has something to teach me. I believe working with people of different backgrounds and perspectives will help me grow. I hope to impact the lives of many young people, so that they may become better informed and vaccinated and therefore feel safer as we transition to in person gatherings.”


Kolya Kosmin-Rose

“I am Kolya Kosmin-Rose. I currently reside in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in Canada. I’m 17 years old, and am in 11th Grade. My main work experience comes from volunteering for local charities. The one I help out with most frequently is Bear Clan, specifically the branch of the organization that delivers packages of food and other necessities to disadvantaged peoples.

“When it comes to personal goals, my current goal is to get into better shape over the summer. Another goal I have is to make enough money for college. My hobbies include reading, playing video games, a bit of personal writing, drawing, and cooking. I’m pretty good at doing heavy lifting, and I would consider myself personable. I’m also good at doing math in my head, and I’m pretty proficient when it comes to organization. I’m also good with navigation, and have a pretty good memory. I’m a staunch believer in personal health and hygiene, and I like to keep my spaces clean. I’ve been pretty adamant about social distancing and wearing a mask during these times, and I’ll continue to observe these rules when in public spaces.

“I look forward to being involved with this program, and will fulfill my role as an ambassador with the utmost diligence while encouraging and providing faith in vaccines.”


Lev Kotler-Berkowitz

“My name is Lev Kotler-Berkowitz, I use he/him pronouns, and I live in Waltham, Massachusetts. I go to Gann Academy, where I’ve played on the soccer, basketball, and baseball teams. I’ve played those three sports since a young age. I’m also a writer for two newspapers at Gann; one is about current events and school news, and the other is a sports newspaper. Additionally, I’m part of my school’s mock trial team. I joined last year and assumed the role of a lawyer, and doing so introduced me to many new ideas and ways of thinking.

“Doing well in school is pretty important to me; I try to push myself to succeed and try out new and challenging things. I enjoy playing and watching sports, especially baseball, and I’m a big fan of the New York Yankees. My Yankees fandom, which often seems surprising because I live in Massachusetts, is from when I lived in New York.

“I’ve spent a bunch of time doing volunteer work with my family, which has included making cards for the elderly, which we started doing at the beginning of the pandemic, and volunteering at places like Cradles to Crayons. We’ve also written postcards and made phone calls to voters before elections. I haven’t had much work experience besides babysitting two boys across the street from my house. I’ve also been a part of a couple of interfaith groups through my school, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know people who are different from myself.”


Sivan Kotler-Berkowitz

“My name is Sivan Kotler-Berkowitz, my pronouns are he/him, and I am 16 years old. I live in Waltham, Massachusetts and attend Gann Academy. I have been employed with the Covid Youth Commission since January, which aims to confront the systemic racism and other inequities that have been brought to light during the pandemic, and have been working to address these key issues in our communities.

“I have also had the privilege of being a youth volunteer with We Got Us, researching and presenting information on medical racism, vaccine hesitancy, vaccine distribution and access issues, and the science behind the vaccine to other youth. I am a part of the GenderCool Project, a youth-led movement replacing misinformed opinions with positive, powerful experiences meeting young people—like me—who identify as transgender and non-binary. Alongside 18 other transgender youth, I share my story to help replace these misinformed opinions and to show that because of the support I have, I am thriving and living my best life.

“I am passionate about playing soccer. I have been playing since I was five years old on club teams, travel teams, and even academy teams. These days, I play on my school team during the soccer season and train individually during the offseason. I also volunteer with my family in various ways, writing cards to Jewish elderly who have been isolated due to the pandemic and volunteering with organizations like Cradles to Crayons. Lastly, I enjoy working with and babysitting kids.”


Sara Lopez Alvarez

“My name is Sara Lopez. I am a high school student at Dana Hall and part of the graduate class of 2023. I am born and raised in Boston, specifically East Boston, but my parents are Colombian. Although, I was born here, I find myself connecting more with my Colombian culture, and I love to visit Colombia when I have the chance.

“For the past few months, I have been an active member of my community, participating in the Covid 19- Youth commission, and other activities in my community. The pandemic has greatly impacted my community, as East Boston is a primarily immigrant community. Therefore, we are at a time where helping hands are greatly appreciated; thus, I am passionate about making a change in the place I have always called home.”


Daisy Ogbesoyen

“My name is Daisy Ogbesoyen and I’m a 16 year-old Nigerian student. I live in Boston, Massachusetts and attend Boston Latin Academy. I am a part of my school’s mock trial team, Suffolk Law class, and am a peer tutor. I am passionate about oral arguments and the field of law, and went on to represent my school winning the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project Regional Competition.

“I am a youth organizer with the St. Stephen’s Youth programs where I have taught lessons to elementary and middle school students about civic engagement and high school students the importance of personal narrative. I’ve also lobbied at the State House and communicated student needs to government officials to pass the Student Opportunity Act. I am also currently organizing a Youth Mayoral Forum as an official representative for the St. Stephen’s Youth Programs.

“I am a part of the COVID-19 Youth Commission, where I create action plans that diffuse resources to impoverished communities. I work to amplify the volunteer pool at community food pantries to destigmatize food insecurity.
I have volunteered with the We Got Us project, delivering presentations to different organizations made up of students from different age groups to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and the history of medical racism. I’ve spoken in front of the school board about issues that affect students like the involvement of ICE in schools. I have also been featured in the Boston Globe, in a story about the sanitation of school facilities.”


Adurape Osunjimi

“My name is Adurape, but I mostly go by Ayo. I was born in Lagos, Nigeria, but I currently live in Lancaster, Texas. I am a recent graduate of UT Austin and I’m currently taking a gap year before medical school. I currently work as the Youth Ambassador for the Yoruba Cultural Center and Museum as well as the Service Director for HCMP (Health Careers Mentorship Program). As a physician, I want to empower communities by addressing the social inequities and barriers present in our healthcare system. I am interested in work that uplifts and helps minority communities and, as a physician, I want to create and work with initiatives that have this in mind.

“I have had the pleasure of serving at three summer camps as a counselor (I will be attending my fourth summer camp this summer). The first summer camp served children who have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and the others served children who are affected by a loved one’s cancer. These experiences have had a profound impact on my life. They have led me to want to become a pediatric oncologist.

“I have been playing the drum set since I was around 12 and I am now also looking to learn how to play the piano and the guitar. All in all, I am excited to work as a student ambassador!”


Cynthia Perry

“My name is Cynthia Perry. I was born in Panama, Central America, and raised in Maryland. I’m currently a graduate student at Boston University’s School of Theology working on my master’s of divinity. My bachelor’s degree is in athletic training from Hofstra University (New York) and my first master’s is in sports management from The George Washington University.

“Before moving to Boston I lived in Washington, D.C., where I worked as an assistant fitness director and associate director of membership. In these positions, I focused on sales and finance, event planning, and marketing. I also spent several years working in sports medicine as a certified and licensed athletic trainer, working in college athletics, orthopedic offices, and physical therapy clinics. In the past, I have worked with special populations to include youth, seniors, and friends with mental and physical challenges.

“In 2018 and 2019 I worked with volunteers to build a playground in Haiti and Mexico. It’s my passion and goal to help churches and non- profits partner together to develop and implement creative programs that can best serve marginalized communities locally and internationally resulting in positive and sustainable impact for generations to come.”


Jeremy Schulz

Jeremy is a queertrans survivor theologian and advocate, passionate about uplifting LGBTQI2A+ life and spirit. She uses any pronouns (preferably in flux she/they/he) and takes a spiritual approach that centers the experiences of the borderlands and dynamic methods of survival.

Their previous work has largely been in the fields of sexual violence and partner abuse, and his spiritual leadership is grounded in trauma informed care, while motivated by increasing efforts for racial equity and justice. Jeremy has been shaped by critical race, feminist, queer, and trans methodology and theory, and is a fierce supporter of human dignity, life, and liberty.

Jeremy holds an AA in liberal arts from Central New Mexico Community College, a BA in religious studies & political science from the University of New Mexico, a graduate certificate from Hartford Seminary in professional ministry, a graduate certificate from Boston University in women’s gender and sexuality, and both an M.Div with a chaplaincy emphasis and a STM from Boston University School of Theology.

While traditionally educated in the academy, Jeremy believes that true knowledge is born from lived experience, and she is devoted to challenging inherently oppressive systems and helping to awaken communities to their own power, wisdom, and agency.


Audrey Sun

Audrey Sun is a rising sophomore at Wellesley College from the Bay Area in California. She is interested in studying Biological Sciences and East Asian Studies on the pre-med track.

Growing up in an immigrant family, Audrey is passionate about building intercultural relationships and supporting marginalized communities. She is a member of the research team at We Got Us, a Boston-based collective working to provide access to education about medical racism, COVID-19, and the vaccine in Black and Brown communities.

In her free time, Audrey enjoys dancing, baking, and spending time with her family. She is excited for the opportunity to be a Student Ambassador and to make contributions to increasing health equity.


Roosevelt Ulloa

“I was born and raised in Guayaquil, Ecuador and moved to the United States at the age of 13. I attended the High School of Art and Design in New York City and joined the United States Navy shortly after graduating. I served in the Navy as a Journalist for 10 years and upon separation I started practicing Zen meditation.”


Veronica Vaganov

Veronica Vaganov is a graduate student at the Boston College School of Social Work. Originally from California, she has a background in graphic design and photography, and has been studying meditation and yoga for over ten years.


Crystal Williams

“I have worked around community work/ volunteer at my local Boys and Girls Club, the Covid Youth Commission, and local religious centers/places. I am used to working with young children, adults, and young adults/ teenagers like me with the same drive as me to push forward and try to better the environment around us and environments in need of a little help. I have worked with diverse groups of people and enjoy/ prefer working around diverse groups of people.”


Paul Yang

“Hi everyone, my name is Paul Yang. I currently live in Brookline, Massachusetts, and just graduated from Brookline High School. A quick few facts about me: I love bird-watching, I have a chameleon as a pet, my favorite school subject is English (although I’m bad at it), and I love cooking. Outside of school, I mostly worked in climate organizations such as Sunrise Boston. Prior to COVID, we centered ourselves on climate actions which include the several climate strikes in Boston. After COVID, we shifted our focus to mutual aid and to support COVID-relief programs, BLM, and other community-based organizations.

“I hope to utilize some of the campaigning skills, organizing skills that I gain from political and climate activism and use them to become a better ambassador. As someone who’s lived through a year of quarantine, I was ecstatic about being able to receive the vaccine and was surprised when some of my close friends didn’t. So through this program, I aim to help others get a broader understanding of the vaccine and install trust in our community.”

“We are working with amazing community partners in the COVID-19 FIVSAP and every one of them has expressed enthusiasm around the idea of having teens participate in the work of equity, access and trust related to vaccinations. Many of partners that are already on the ground working to get shots into newly eligible young people’s arms realize that peer-to-peer interactions have the strongest potential for encouraging, supporting and generating trust and enthusiasm around vaccinations.” (Kimberly Bress, Program Coordinator)


Interfaith Youth Core

Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) is a national nonprofit that equips the next generation of citizens and professionals with the knowledge and skills needed for leadership in a religiously diverse world. Partnering with higher education institutions and corporations, IFYC is dedicated to making interfaith cooperation the norm and building Interfaith America in the 21st century.


Turn In. Reach Out logoTurn In. Reach Out.

Turn In. Reach Out. is a three-year old grassroots organization that has shown dedication and perseverance in its work at the intersection of healing and social justice.  Our mission is to uplift the work of racial equity and social justice through increasing access to social and emotional health resources for BIPOC communities.


We Got Us: A Community Empowerment Projectwe-got-us-logo

The We Got Us team seeks to empower our communities with accurate science information and public health resources by connecting Black community members and organizations with trusted Black healthcare professionals and students.


HC logoAbout Hebrew College

Hebrew College is an innovative national institute for Jewish learning and leadership based in Newton, Massachusetts. We are dedicated to Jewish literacy, creativity, and community, and a world of dignity and compassion for all. Our students are future rabbis, cantors, and educators, and people at every stage of life who love to learn. Together, we are infusing Jewish life with substance, spirit, beauty, imagination, and a sense of purpose. Read our mission statement.

Our Staff

kareem-MCKareem King – Lead Organizer is a sophomore at Harvard studying the History of Science and Global Health. He has a passion for issues of health equity and understanding how public policy impacts the health of marginalized communities. Currently, he serves as the Director of Community Engagement for We Got Us, a Boston-based grassroots collective of Black college students, health professionals, youth and community organizers working to provide access to COVID-19 education and resources in Black and Brown communities. In that role, he has been responsible for leading canvassing events in the community to bring COVID-19 education and resources right to people’s doorstep. He is excited to work with the community toidentify needs and create a space for marginalized groups in medicine.

Or RoseRabbi Or Rose is the founding director of the Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership of Hebrew College. In addition to his work at Hebrew College, Rabbi Rose has taught for the Bronfman Youth Fellowships, The Wexner Graduate Fellowship, Hebrew College’s Me’ah community education program, and in a variety of other academic, religious, and civic contexts throughout North America and in Israel.Rabbi Rose is the author or editor of various scholarly and popular works, including Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi: Essential Teachings (Orbis Books).

Questions?

For any additional questions, please email Rabbi Or Rose at orose@bu.edu.

  • Learn more about IFYC’s efforts to work with religiously diverse communities in vaccination here.
  • Learn more about the Miller’s Center’s work with teens and religiously diverse communities here.

If you would like to support this vaccine ambassador program, please click the button below and choose “Miller Center” from the giving form drop-down menu. Thank you!