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Iranian Jewish Life in Los Angeles: Past and Present

Saba Soomekh, Author

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Swipe Out Hunger: White House Recognition

In March of 2012, Sumekh and the Swipes team were recognized by President Barak Obama and the White House for receiving the Champions of Change Award, just two and a half years after starting the organization. The White House referred to Swipe Out Hunger as “champions of change.” This recognition is a proud moment not only for the Swipes team, but for UCLA as well. The same individuals at the university who were concerned about the development of the organization now supported it and wanted recognition for it, and by association, for the school. The university was recognized for being the birthplace of such a significant organization that serves the greater Los Angeles community.

In an interview, Rachel expressed a powerful moment during president Obama’s speech during the White House recognition. President Obama said, “many people are idealistic in their youth, and they say if you remain idealistic as you grow old then you’re crazy. But the truth is to stay idealistic as you grow old, otherwise we are not going to go anywhere new.” Swipe Out Hunger’s approach in challenging the university and creating a partnership was very idealistic.

When Swipe Out Hunger first started, the group’s focus was solely on one school. They were not thinking about scaling; they only wanted to have one really strong campus organization. However, this soon led them to realize that the way to create a sustainable program is to inspire other students to want to do the same. As a result of the White House recognition, there was a tremendous surge in interest from other schools, where students wanted to start their own chapters.
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