Yoni Jesner Foundation
860. Marsha Gladstone
Marsha Gladstone, from Glasgow, founded the ‘Yoni Jesner Foundation’, a charity that encourages young people to volunteer, in memory of her son Yoni, who was killed in a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv in 2002 whilst on his gap year.
Inspired by Yoni’s dedication to volunteering, Marsha set up the Foundation to engage other young people in social action, including the creation of the ‘Yoni Jesner Award’, which has been given to over 1,500 teenagers to celebrate them completing at least 20 hours of volunteering. The Foundation has also given funding to 15 young people to take a gap year in Israel where they volunteer with local community projects and encourage interfaith dialogue.
In a personal letter to Marsha, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“You have responded with remarkable strength to the tragic loss of your son by inspiring more than 1,500 teenagers to engage in social action. You should be immensely proud of the work of the ‘Yoni Jesner Foundation’, which has given 15 young people the opportunity to pursue an educational gap year in Israel and volunteer with local causes and community groups.”
“When you do what you are doing, you aren’t thinking about awards, but awards like this encourage other people to get involved and do good. At times like the present, with awful things happening across the world, this award is in some way a rebalance.”