A Ray of Light: Miami Diller Alum Wins National Award!
Posted on 07/02/2021 @ 08:00 AM
Amidst the tragedy unfolding in Surfside, there is a ray of light pointing us to a better future. Diller Cohort 7 Alumnus and Temple Beth Am member Daniel Solomon, 17, won a national 2021 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award. He is one of only 15 teens nationwide to earn the distinction.
CAJE is so proud to have educated Daniel through the Miami Diller Teen Fellows program, which gives teens an opportunity to learn and practice leadership skills, deepen Jewish identity and work on tikkun olam projects. It was in our local Diller program where Daniel refined his leadership in order to be an agent of change.
Legally blind since birth, Daniel found his passion in orchestral music. Faced with the underfunding of school music programs, he founded Pinecrest City Music Project, Inc. (PCMP), a community-wide symphony that nurtures young musicians through a peer-to-peer program in Miami-Dade County public schools.
“The community I have built around music is so important to me,” Daniel noted. “I am honored to be able to bring the arts into schools and share music with more students.”
Daniel’s motivation stemmed from an acute awareness of the lack of support the arts receive in schools. In seventh grade, he walked into the orchestra supply closet to get rosin, an inexpensive necessity for instruments to produce sound. There was none and he noticed the other instruments were in disrepair. Taking the Jewish value of tikkun olam (repairing the world) to heart, Solomon worked on bringing musical arts programming and equipment to public school students.
The Pinecrest City Music Project offers group instruction, concerts and sensory-based arts exhibits for a diverse student population and advocates for arts education. It also established a female STEM music coding program in partnership with Georgia Tech University. The only youth-run vendor to the Miami-Dade County School Board, PCMP has grown to serve 502 students with eight weekly programs at six campuses. A strong mentorship system ensures the group will continue to be successful when Solomon, a Palmetto High School senior, graduates.
As noted above, Daniel is an alumnus of the Miami Diller Fellows. Diller Fellows are high school sophomores and juniors who participate in a 12-month education program that includes workshops, thought-provoking weekend retreats and a trip to Israel.
“I am honored to continue my journey with Diller,” he declared. “Tikkun olam and the value of giving back are ideas I believe in strongly.”
As part of the award, Daniel received $36,000 to use to further his initiative or toward his own education.
“I have really enjoyed meeting the other award winners. We have programs over Zoom and learn about each other and our projects,” he observed. “It is kind of like a think tank for community service.”
Click here to learn more about... or apply for... Miami’s Diller Teen Fellows Program!