Since its inception in 2006, VisionWalk – an annual event created to raise money for research that will provide preventions, treatments and cures for people affected by all retinal degenerative diseases – has raised more than 22 million dollars to fund sight-saving research. This past Sunday, the “Yes Eye Can” team of Temple Israel Center Nursery School in White Plains joined the hundreds of people participating in the annual 5K at Glen Island Park in New Rochelle, NY. Teachers, parents and students walked together to raise more than 18 thousand dollars to help find a cure for blindness.
The school’s participation in the walk was part of its monthly mitzvah (good deed) projects. Created to help others and teach students about the importance of giving and kindness, mitzvah projects are carefully selected by the Nursery School Director and the school’s Hesed (kindness) committee to ensure the activities will resonate with young children. The school’s first mitzvah project this year was to collect fresh fruit for local food pantries, which often lack fresh produce. Throughout the entire month of September, parents and children were encouraged to collect apples and bring them to school where they were then packaged and ultimately delivered to local food pantries.
“Through voluntary acts of kindness, we seek to build a caring community,” stated school Director Patty Goldstick. “Our monthly mitzvah projects teach the youngest of children the value of helping others. Through hands-on participation in engaging activities both within and outside of the school, we demonstrate what kindness looks like – so they can see it, understand it and ideally model kindness as they grow to become thoughtful members of our community.”
Temple Israel Center Nursery School’s Hesed (kindness) committee has been serving the school’s community for more than five years. Created to give and receive “hesed” or acts of kindness to members of the Nursery School community, in addition to coordinating meaningful mitzvah projects for the children, the committee supports school families and individuals during times of need – the birth of a new baby, illness or disability and bereavement. Support ranges from providing and coordinating meals, to arranging playdates, carpooling, and more.
This month, the school participated in the VisionWalk 5K to support one of its teachers, Wendy Kreisberg, whose son Jeremy has Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), a degenerative eye disease for which there is no cure. Now in his second year at Harvard Law School, Jeremy is a Temple Israel Center Nursery School alum.
In November the school will participate in a synagogue-wide Hesed Kick-Off Event which will include several activities such as: building bears that will be donated to children at various shelters and hospitals, wrapping gifts for the childrens’ birthday parties taking place once a month at the Coachman Family Center and sorting clothes for the Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS) Kids' Kloset.