TEE member, Lisa Weissberg and her daughter Abby, attended last year’s 2nd grade Tikkun Olam program and from there spent their summer volunteering.
Last Spring, my daughter, Abby Weissberg, was introduced to the National Council of Jewish Women while participating in TEE’s 2nd grade Tikkun Olam project.
Abby learned that there are people living without essential items right here in our very own community. Although we had previously discussed this, seeing an entire organization committed to this cause really touched her. She spent the afternoon sorting donated hotel toiletries for homeless people.
Prior to the Tikkun Olam program at NCJW, I had been searching, unsuccessfully, to find an organization that would allow a young child to volunteer on a regular basis. I spoke with Becky Brouman, the volunteer coordinator, at the conclusion of the event about other opportunities for Abby. She graciously told me that they could always find some tasks for her. Further, she told us about a community center on Harvard Ave. where they had very little to occupy the kids and were looking for toys and books. She suggested we could solicit Abby’s friends for their old toys and have a toy drive. Abby LOVED this idea, so that is what we did to start off our summer. We ended up with two car loads of toys, which we delivered to the center. They gave us a tour of the facility and talked about the circumstances most of the children at the center live under. This was all it took to get Abby hooked. She was able to see first hand how good she has it, as well as the daily struggles that many others face. Over the summer we went regularly, often bringing a friend or two, to NCJW where they had various tasks for us. Sometimes we would go through donated games to make sure all the pieces were present. Other times Abby would stuff brochures, or separate donated items. On one occasion we went with TEE member and fellow 3rd grader, Amanda Bloomberg, and were able to stuff donated items into bags that were going to children entering foster care. At the end of summer, we organized a school supply drive and several of Abby’s friends showed up on a Sunday afternoon to sort and stuff school supplies into backpacks. That day the kids stuffed 150 backpacks. Prior to that Abby started selling her things on a local website I am registered on and using the money to buy her own school supplies to donate. The event so touched her that she is already saving money to purchase school supplies for the next school year.
This experience has enriched Abby’s life, as well as mine. It has been something that we have done together, and I have enjoyed spending that special time with her doing something valuable and meaningful. I know that it has instilled in her the beginning of a lifelong love of volunteering and doing for others. Last time we went to volunteer she picked out an outfit to wear that seemed a bit dressy for volunteering, but I didn’t say anything. When we got there, Ms. Becky commented on what a pretty outfit she had on, she said she wore it because it was the NCJW colors. If the NCJW has a “biggest fan” surely Abby is it!
Lisa Weissberg, TEE member