CTeen of France

2 years ago The Connections Staff 0

Shai Fichtelberg// CTeen Sonoma County, California

Taking a 10-hour flight from our last stop in Cancun, we arrive at our next destination for “Travel Thursday.” It’s CTeen of France! Mendy and Chaya Mottal established CTeen of France in September 2014, and from that moment on, CTeen has expanded to over 120 chapters across the France region—with over 20 chapters in Paris alone.

Mendy started CTeen of France because there wasn’t a community for teens in his region, who felt like they were being left on the sidelines. “After hosting our first event,” he says, “I was able to bring in over 360 local teens.” 

From that moment on, Mendy and Chaya put on the gears to expand their chapter, which in 6 years has become part of a CTeen network that’s second only to the United States of America. 

Of course, it wouldn’t be possible without amazing CTeen leaders. “The teens gave me power and showed there was a lot more to be done,” Mendy said.

Rachel Arrouas is one of those leaders. “No one can deny that CTeen of France has something special,” she says. “Mendy and Chaya Mottal are so welcoming and are here for every teen…We know we can count on them.” 

For CTeen of France, Shabbaton has remained the highlight of their year. Anyone who’s been to Shabbaton knows that the presence of CTeen France can’t go unnoticed—with their “CTeen France” beanies and French accents.

As Mendy put it, “every single CTeen event is very special, each one in its own way, but the Shabbaton still has something more special.” For many CTeeners, the NYC Shabbaton is the best highlight of the year. “Over the Shabbaton weekend, we meet incredible people and strengthen the bond between the teens in our chapter,” Rachel says.“We learn that it is normal to shout ‘Where are you from?’ and ‘Add me on Snapchat!’ to other CTeeners who are strangers that we meet across the street. We find a home away from home in the streets of Crown Heights.”

In 2021, this element of home is going to be missed more than ever. Despite this setback, CTeen of France immediately took action and launched their program “S.O.S. Grandpa” where they put teens and elders together to spend time talking over a phone call. 

CTeen of France has been an incredible example for us all to learn from. Whether it’s through innovative programming before and during the pandemic, or how they show special care to every event and teen, Mendy and Chaya Mottal have been true lamplighters to the CTeen International community. Au revoir!