On a blazing hot June day, this early childhood center took to the streets with their teachers to do a car wash. This event was the culmination of months of work and ultimately raised $200 for ISF. As incredibly awesome as this is—I mean, can there be anything cooler than these three-year-olds gleefully scrubbing cars, joyfully getting soaking wet, having the time of their lives making the world a better place??— what’s even more amazing is the story of how this car wash and fundraiser came to be:
A teacher for 12 years, Valerie has always encouraged the children to do “mitzvoth,” the Hebrew word for ‘good deed.’ Doing such deeds is a guiding principle of the Jewish religion. With Valerie and her co-teacher Katey's help, the kids come up with a list of good deeds-- everything from helping set the table to feeding their pets and being kind to others. Each good deed earns both a stamp next to their name as well as a small amount of money from their parents. The children then put that money in a donation box in the classroom.
When Valerie learned about ISF, she came up with the idea of the “Building a Better World” mitzvah. As she explains it:
We created an entire area dedicated to the project where we had plastic bins labeled "Paper" and "Plastic" for recycling, a mitzvah chart, and pictures of Ian with animals. The kids referred (and still do) to Ian whenever they recycle something or do a mitzvah saying things like: “Ian is so happy we are making the earth healthy!” and “Ian will be proud of us!”
What I wanted the children to understand from this project was the importance of respecting our earth and the inhabitants on it. Throughout the year, on top of recycling and doing mitzvot, we spent time cleaning the world by wearing gloves and picking up trash.
In June, the children put everything they had learned into practice and held the car wash to benefit ISF. Over the months of mitzvoth, Valerie and Katey’s students learned about the importance of showing kindness and respect to our planet, simultaneously learning how being good to our earth affects all the people and creatures who live on it. Today, following the car wash, the children still come into the class bearing trash to recycle and parents report that the children have taught them how to recycle at home. Thus, there has been a permanent, wide spread effect that radiates out into the community and touches everyone, ISF included.
All told, with the car wash and the money from the children’s daily mitzvahs, the class raised $300 for ISF. $300!!! That’s all money that will go toward funding emergency animal grants and isf amazing programs which empower youth to find their voices and passions.
Thank you so so so so much, Valerie, Katey, and most importantly, all the children! You are part of the ISF’s extended family and we are incredibly proud of you!
Written by Margarita:Youth Content Editor
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