On May 29, 125 young professionals crowded Rumi Event Space in New York City for the launch of Chai Lifeline’s Young Builders Society. Designed for the next generation of lay leadership and emerging philanthropists, the program is geared towards young professionals who are committed to Chai Lifeline’s mission and eager to play a significant and active role in the growth of the organization.
Amidst the cocktails, music, delicious food and candid shots taken at the photo booth, there was suddenly a hush in the room. Eyes turned to a young man with a microphone as he shared his remarkable story.
Jonah Adelsberg, a Manhattan resident, is a pediatric cancer survivor. Diagnosed at the age of eight, Adelsberg attended Camp Simcha as a young child. After recovering in his teens, he wanted to give back, first by participated in Team Lifeline as a runner and then as counselor at Camp Simcha after he graduated high school. Adelsberg, who is originally from Woodmere, New York, graduated from Binghamton University and currently works as a manger in the music industry.
“My outlook on life is a direct outgrowth of my experience with Chai Lifeline,” said Adelsberg. “I absolutely try to live every day to the fullest, as if it were my last. My physical health and mental wellbeing are a result of the incredible support from the people at Chai Lifeline.”
Rena Lunzer, an Englewood, NJ native who works as a human resources professional, had previously served as a rotating counselor at Camp Simcha and now serves as a respite volunteer during the year. “Volunteering for Chai Lifeline and serving as a counselor really changed my life,” she said. “A giver gains a lot more than the receiver. I really learned a lot from my campers and the children I’ve visited. They have given me perspective on joy and love despite everything they are going through and I try to internalize these messages in my day-to-day life.”
Dr. Scott Moerdler is a pediatric hematologist-oncologist based in New Brunswick, NJ. He attributes his experiences as a counselor at Camp Simcha after his gap year in Israel as his inspiration to pursue pediatric medicine. “Ever since that memorable summer, I decided I wanted to go into a career that would make a difference,” he explained. “I’ve had the privilege of not only being a counselor at Camp Simcha but currently serve on its medical staff. I haven’t missed a Camp Simcha summer in 15 years!”
Chai Lifeline CEO Rabbi Simcha Scholar, who was also in attendance, praised the Young Builders Society. “It so heartwarming to see so many bright and talented young professionals who were previously involved with Chai Lifeline now taking leadership roles in building our organization,” he said. “The drive, energy and ideas brought forth by these individuals will solidify Chai Lifeline to continue in its mission of bringing joy and hope to families affected by illness.”
The Young Builders Society is based on three key pillars: volunteerism, ambassadorship and philanthropy. Young Builders and their families are offered unique opportunities to volunteer based on their personal interests and are encouraged to take part in Chai Lifeline’s various programs and events throughout the year. As ambassadors, they work to raise awareness of Chai Lifeline within their communities and encourage the overall advancement of the organization. Young Builders partner with Chai Lifeline and commit to a minimum annual gift of $1,800. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available for Young Builders who wish to commit at higher levels.
To learn more about Chai Lifeline’s Young Builder Society, please visit www.chailifeline.org/ybs.