We recently were notified of this amazing opportunity for kids in the San Diego Jewish community we would like to help promote. Because of my personal involvement over the years with the JCC and Temple Solel in Cardiff I wanted to share my full support in this fantastic program created by my friend Jessica Fink and my dear friends the JCC Shalom Baby.
Stacie Steelman, CEO and Founder, Crunch Care
We are excited to announce the creation of a very exciting, kid-oriented mitzvah project that we will be launching in partnership with the JCC’s Shalom Baby/PJ Library program. This blog postl will fill you in on some of the details – and more importantly, let you know how you can GET INVOLVED as this project moves forward.
What is this group all about?
The name of the group will be “Mitzvah Kids,” with the tagline “Making Kids Into Mensches.” Here is our fantastic logo!
As many of you already may know, there is a shortage of opportunities for younger children in our community to perform mitzvot and “give back” to the community. Most of the available projects are for older children. Our plan is to create fun and engaging mitzvah-oriented activities for children ages 4 through 8 (although in many cases, depending on the activity, it will be fine if older or younger kids want to join in). We will meet once per month, typically on a Sunday at around 1:00, to engage in a wide variety of activities through which give back to the community.
What types of activities will our kids do?
We have some wonderful ideas that will allow our children to give back to the community in a fun and age-appropriate manner. Some of our ideas include: working with the residents at Seacrest to bring them cards and sing songs around the holidays; coordinating with the Hand Up Food Pantry to create age-appropriate opportunities for our kids to serve that organization; making cards and pictures for the children at Rady Children’s Hospital, combined with a visit to the Ronald McDonald House; conducting beach- and park-clean ups with the children; working with the Helen Woodward Animal Center to perform service related to the animals there; working with the local fire department, police and/or armed services groups to involve the kids in community projects. While many of the activities will have a Jewish focus, some may not. If you have ideas for other activities, please send them my way. Our main goal is for the activities to be as hands-on as possible for the children – something more involved than just bringing a canned good or donated toy to some location, dropping it off and leaving. We want the kids to be engaged in this experience.
When will the program begin?
We already are in the process of planning our FIRST ACTIVITY: We will be putting together “mitzvah bags” for those who are less fortunate in our community. The kids will be taking large Ziploc bags and filling them with essentials that might be helpful to someone living on the streets: granola bars or other portable food, water, toothbrushes and toothpaste, sanitizing wipes, clean socks, etc. The children also will be coloring a small insert card that can be placed in the bag that lists various outreach resources in the area (homeless shelters, domestic abuse hotlines, etc.)
We will be gathering at the JCC Teen Lounge on SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 at 1:00 for this exciting, inaugural activity. There will be music, refreshments, and much mitzvah-making. (If you do plan to attend, please bring an old t-shirt that your child can make into his or her own mitzvah cape!)
How can I help?
First, for those of you interested in getting involved in planning this first event, we would love to have your input and assistance. Please let me know if you are interested in helping out with this organizational part of the process.
Second, if you are willing to donate items to be used in the mitzvah bags (non-perishable snacks, Ziploc bags, socks, etc.), we would greatly appreciate any and all donations. Our goal is to make 100 bags, so ultimately we will need 100 of each item.
Third, even if you cannot help with these early stages of the planning process, we hope that you can join us at the event. Please let us know if you plan to attend so that we can get an approximate head count. (Please make sure that you reply just to me, NOT “reply to all.”) We also hope that you will help spread the word to others. At the end of this email, you will find text that you can cut and paste into your own email to circulate to any and all of your friends with young kids.
We hope that, as you become involved in this project, it becomes not just a “special occasion” when you and your family are doing something wonderful for your community, but rather a routine part of your life – something that your kids simply expect to do every few weeks. We all are so very lucky in what we have and in the comfort and security that we enjoy. It is our duty as parents to teach our children to appreciate how very fortunate they are.
Thanks in advance for your involvement and enthusiasm. Please do not hesitate to let Judy Nemzer or me know if you have any questions.
Email to forward to anyone with children ages 4-8:
Please join me and my family in supporting a new, kid-oriented mitzvah group that is being launched in our community, in cooperation with the JCC’s Shalom Baby/PJ Library Program. The group is called “Mitzvah Kids: Making Kids Into Mensches.” The goal of the group is to organize fun and engaging mitzvah projects for children ages 4 through 8, to allow those kids to “give back” to their community. There are so few opportunities for kids in this age group to get involved in these types of projects, yet the lessons that can be learned from participating in these projects are invaluable.
The first event for this group will be on SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 at 1:00 in the JCC Teen Lounge. The children will be making “mitzvah bags” that can be distributed to less fortunate members in our community. They will be stocking large Ziploc bags with essentials that might be helpful to someone living on the streets (granola bars or other portable food, water, toothbrush and toothpaste, sanitizing wipes, clean socks, etc.) The children also will be coloring a small insert card that can be placed in the bag that lists various outreach resources in the area (homeless shelters, domestic abuse hotline, etc.). There will be music, refreshments, and much mitzvah-making.
Please let Jessica Fink (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Judy Nemzer (email@example.com) know if you are planning to attend so that they can get an approximate head count. Also, if you do plan to attend this event, please bring an old t-shirt that your child can make into his or her own mitzvah cape!
I hope that you can join in this fun and worthwhile activity. It is a wonderful way for us to teach our children gratitude for how lucky they (and we) are.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email Jessica Fink (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Judy Nemzer (shalom email@example.com).