I first connected with Chai Lifeline in Antwerp where a coordinator called me up and told me he thought I’d be a great volunteer. As I volunteered, I started building these really deep connections with Chai Lifeline kids (some of whom I still keep in touch with until this day). After I got married, I moved to America where someone introduced me to Hershey Katz, the director of Achim B’Yachad, which supports Chai Lifeline’s Chassidic clients… and the rest is history.read full story
I began working for Chai Lifeline as an administrative assistant when I was 19. One day, a girl receiving dialysis was all alone in the hospital and the regular volunteers who usually spent time with her were not available. I volunteered to go and spent my first two hours with a Chai Lifeline client. I realized then how special Chai Lifeline was and how wonderful it is to be able to give. After getting married, moving, going to school, and moving again, here I am today, working as a case manager for Chai Lifeline Southeast.read full story
I was the first employee of Camp Simcha UK (Chai Lifeline’s United Kingdom affiliate) in 2005. I had been working in the Jewish community in London since the early 1980s and was approached by the founder of Camp Simcha here, Meir Plancey. After meeting Chai Lifeline CEO Rabbi Simcha Scholar and seeing the setup in New York I was hooked and it has dominated me and my family’s lives ever since.
One of the things I love about my job is that no two days are alike. Currently, we still have to work from home here, so I have to pull all the strings of the charity from my kitchen table. I have at least three or four Zoom meetings a day and essentially spend most of my time working with my senior managers and lay leaders. I love working together with some incredible people to make so much difference to the children and their families. The more time I get to spend with people, the better.
Every time I see the difference that on one of our incredible Big Brothers or Sisters make for their Camp Simcha Little Brother or Sister, it makes me feel so very special inside. To play my very small part in making that happen is a tremendous zchus [privilege]. One of our parents at a retreat told me, “Imagine how it made us feel to see our children smiling again.” Whenever I see those children smile, I know I’ve made a difference.
I was drawn to Chai Lifeline because, unlike many organizations that help children with illnesses, Chai Lifeline provides support and services for the entire family. When one person in a family is sick, everyone is affected in different ways. I was the child who was sick. I know how my illness affected me, but, more than that, I know how much of a toll it took on my parents and siblings. Chai Lifeline works with the whole family to make sure every need is met, and every person is cared for. My health issues began when I was 12 and since then I knew I wanted to help children who were affected by illness. I’m trained as a Child Life Specialist and worked at children’s hospitals supporting children and families. My chronic health issues made continuing that role nearly impossible, but I still wanted to do something meaningful for families facing illness. When Chai Lifeline West Coast was hiring a program coordinator for i-Shine, I knew it was the perfect place for me to utilize my experience and channel my passion into helping children.read full story