I-Shine is an after-school organization run by Chai Lifeline. This program helps the children of families who have been affected by cancer. Volunteers at I-Shine help the children do their homework, play games, and just have fun. Every year SKA runs a Purim carnival for I-Shine. SKA students get to participate in this carnival by helping run the booths and encouraging and playing with the children. This program brings so much happiness to the I-Shine children and families.
Nursing Home Visits
Imagine living away from home, not being able to always see your family and friends. Wouldn’t a visit from a friendly face make your day? Think of the residents of nursing homes whose days can be brightened by a quick loving visit. Spend some time each week – a weeknight, Friday, Shabbos or Sunday afternoon – visiting a nursing home in your area. Try to form a relationship with one or two special residents. Guaranteed, they will soon look forward eagerly to your visits! Time commitment: As often and as long as you choose. Try going once a week.
A few times a year, SKA plays host to a lively group of senior citizens who visit for an Intergenerational Lunch. Everyone is invited to participate in this activity during their lunch period. Sing, dance, help make a project or just bring your lunch over to share a meal with an older friend. Contact: Watch for announcements and signs announcing the date of each event. Contact Mrs. Falik or ask the Intergenerational Program Student Leader.
Wednesday Nursing Home Visits
Hop on the bus each Wednesday during period 6 lunch to visit the Woodmere Nursing Home. Bring your lunch to eat on the way there and spend a very meaningful lunch period with a resident of the nursing home. Bring along a deck of cards or a newspaper if you’d like to have a great activity. Time Commitment: Come as often as you like. When you come on a consistent basis, you often build relationships with some of the residents.
Masbia Soup Kitchen
Masbia Soup Kitchen feeds hundreds of starving New Yorkers ever day. Twice a year SKA takes a group of girls to the Flatbush branch to prepare food and set up meals. It is hard for us to fathom that there are people in our own neighborhoods that do not have the barest necessity of food to eat. To help the many hungry adults and children, you can collect food that is left over from school events or run canned food drives.
Pre-Yom Tov Food Shopping
Twice a year, a group of over 100 needy Jewish elderly come to Gourmet Glatt to choose food that they will receive free of charge. SKA girls are paired with them and assist them in navigating the aisles and picking out what they need.
Local Hospital Visits
Contact your local hospital’s volunteer department to find out about its requirements for visiting (each hospital has its own). Try setting aside a Shabbos afternoon or a Sunday to brightening the day of a lonely, sick person. Here are some numbers to get you started.
New York Hospital (Booth).
Contact: Rabbi Keehn (718) 268-3765
South Nassau (516) 763-0933
Long Island Jewish (718) 470-7000
North Shore University Hospital (516) 562- 0100
NSUH Forest Hills (718) 830-4000
Schneider Children’s Hospital (718) 470-3000
St. John’s Episcopal (718) 869-7320
Chai Lifeline – Home Respite and Hospital Visits
Chai Lifeline helps support the families of those with serious illnesses. Our eleventh and twelfth graders work with Chai Lifeline to “adopt” a family: mentoring the siblings, visiting a sick child, or doing what is needed. They also visit hospitals before Chagim and may join the annual retreat. Contact: Chai Lifeline Student Leaders
Club Hour Hospital Visits
Every Tuesday during Clubs you have the opportunity to make a difference in the life of a hospital patient. A bus will be taking girls to Mercy Hospital to perform the mitzvah of Bikur Cholim. Throughout the year there will also be opportunities to perform for the patients – put a smile on someone’s face and see what a rewarding experience this can be.
Being sick at home can be very lonely. These organizations know sick people who would love a friendly visit, especially around Yom Tov time. Contact them and they will set you up.
Contact: Mrs. Marlene Aryeh (Bikur Cholim of Far Rockaway):
Mrs. Karen Portal (South Nassau Bikur Cholim):
Mrs. Estee Herskovics (516) 840-2028 or 3rd floor Guidance Office at SKA
The gift of life is one that even money can’t buy, but you can give by donating blood. Even if you are too young to give blood, you can help others fulfill this life-saving mitzvah. SKA runs blood drives in the fall and spring. You can help by scheduling appointments with parents in the weeks before the blood drive or attending the blood drive itself to give out papers, cookies and juice.
Sadly, there are children who cannot afford toys to play with. Donate new toys to our Chai Lifeline Chanukah Toy Drive or used toys to our regular Toy Drive. Many of the gently used toys go to centers in Israel.
Imagine not having enough clean, neat clothes to wear. Help by bringing in clean, gently used clothing during our clothing drives.
The Levi Yitzchak Library
The Levi Yitzchak Library is always looking for volunteers to help with computer assistance, shelving books, checking people in and out, and keeping the place neat. Tuesday evenings is their Book Buddies program. Volunteers are paired up with younger children and spend time reading together and sharing a snack and drink which is provided by Qcumber. Thursday evenings is story time. Volunteers help set up, clean up and help keep an eye on the children during the story.
Volunteering at Gemachs
There are several families in the local area that have given generously of their living space to house Gemachs where the less fortunate can go to get clothing they otherwise could not afford. These Gemachs often need help sorting through the donated items and hanging the clothing in a respectable way. Several times a year we take a trip to a special Gamach in Brooklyn called Bobby’s Place. Join us as we get to see firsthand the importance of giving the utmost respect to even the poorest people.
Chesed Shel Emet
When a family is very poor, a funeral can be too great an expense. The Hebrew Free Burial Society provides burial for all Jews and we can assist them in keeping the cemeteries clean and neat. In addition to our grade trips to clean up the cemetery, if there is interest, we will also schedule additional clean up trips.
The best way to help our greater community is to begin working on the seemingly small problems before they develop into significant rifts and difficulties. Through our strong campaign to work on ourselves and put a stop to speaking badly about one another we hope to create a more harmonious and accepting atmosphere.
Kulanu – Sunday Morning Program
Having a child with developmental disabilities can be extremely difficult. Kulanu helps these parents by providing educational programming on most Sunday mornings for these children. High school volunteers are needed to “shadow” the children and enable them to participate fully in the program. Contact: The Kulanu student representative or Jonathan Cooper at (516) 569-6664 Time Commitment: You can commit to going to Kulanu for one , two or three hours every Sunday or twice a month.
Yachad mainstreams developmentally disabled children with their peers. Attending Shabbatonim, Good Sports and other Yachad events is fun and meaningful. Good Sports is a monthly sports program that takes place in the Edward R. Murrow High School in Flatbush (1600 Avenue L.) from 11 AM until 2:45 PM. You can go there yourself or join us on our annual SKA outing.
Kulanu – Shadowing Program
A child with developmental disabilities would often benefit from being included in activities with his peers (this is called “mainstreaming”) but often cannot because of his special needs. Kulanu will set up a high school student with a child with special needs so that he or she can participate in Shabbos morning groups or another weekly activity. In addition, we help Kulanu run a week-long program at the HALB Preschool during the legal holidays, when the children are off from their public school programs. Contact: Mrs. Storch Time Commitment: Approximately one to two hours per week, depending on the activity. Looking for a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon? Doesn’t every member of our community deserve to share the joys of friendship?
The Friendship Circle
The Friendship Circle offers a unique opportunity to develop a close relationship with special needs children. By extending a helping hand and getting involved in a full range of social experiences— crafts, music and movement or other fantastic activities—your life will be immeasurably enriched. Contact: Mrs. Falik
We all know what it’s like not to be able to understand everything that is going on during class. You can give an elementary school student the help that can make a difference between failing and feeling great about school.
JEP – Jewish Educational Program
Many children don’t have the opportunity to receive a Jewish education. JEP provides them with the opportunity to learn about their Jewish heritage or help them with Hebrew homework. JEP operates centers in several different neighborhoods. We even started our own learning center at SKA every Monday evening. Contact: Sign up with the JEP Student Leaders. Be sure to ask them which locations need the most help.
Israel Action Committee
Even though we don’t live in Medinat Yisrael, we care about her deeply. The members of this committee, in conjunction with various other committees and faculty members, raise money, initiate public action, raise awareness and try to do everything possible to help Israel through media campaigns, fundraising projects, tefillot, and special programs.
In partnership with NCSY and the Lauder Fundation, SKA students travel to Berlin, Germany the fastest-growing Jewish community in Europe today. The students meet, educate, and forge relationships with the young women of the Lauder Midrasha who are an important part of Klal Yisroel. There are also opportunities on the trip to visit and learn about incredibly powerful and meaningful sights in Germany that commemorate the past, and remain as an everlasting testimony to the continuity of the Jewish people. This trip is an opportunity to reach out to Jews, and perform Kiruv across the ocean.