At just 16, Elana Brownstein already has years of commitment to community service under her belt. Born and raised in Baltimore County, Brownstein attends Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community High School where she is an active member of the student body serving in numerous capacities, most recently as student body President.
Amongst her peers, Brownstein is best known for her commitment to spurring on other students into community action and service. In 2002, Brownstein helped to organize "For the Love of Children," a drive for money, books, linens, clothing and toiletries for inner city children, who are primarily African American orphans who have been affected by AIDS. Previous fundraisers have involved raising money for the victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. Concerned with the media images bombarding teen-aged girls and younger, in the 9th grade, she participated in GO GIRLS (Giving Our Girls Inspiration and Resources for Lasting Self-esteem), a program of the National Eating Disorders Association. Armed with information from the program, she led a campaign to encourage local retailers to use a variety of body sizes in their clothes displays to mirror the diversity of body shapes and sizes found in the real world.
Involved in numerous after-school community service activities, Brownstein recently served as Co-President of the Baltimore-Jewish Community Center Maacabi Club where she organized a sandwich drive for local soup kitchens. As a peer educator for "New Jewish Equation," a program through the Jewish Big Brother and Sister League of Baltimore run in conjunction with Jewish Addiction Services and the Steven Kaufman AIDS Outreach Project, Brownstein counsels other Jewish and non-Jewish teens and parents on issues involving at-risk behaviors, including drug and alcohol abuse.
A committed Zionist, Brownstein has also volunteered for various activities in Israel such as working in an Old People's Home. Brownstein has also helped support families in Israel by raising $2000 for Magen David Adom. Brownstein served as a student ambassador to Szarvas, Hungary in 2002 were she worked in an outreach summer camp, helping Jewish children from Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union rediscover their Jewish heritage.
Brownstein is planning to go to college next year where she hopes to continue and expand her community activism. She currently lives with her parents and an older brother in Pikesville, Maryland.