It is customary and encouraged to undertake a Mitzvah project while studying and preparing for a B’nai Mitzvah. Our families often ask us for assistance in selecting the project as well as a creative way to incorporate the Mitzvah Project into their B’nai Mitzvah celebration.
While ‘Mitzvah’ does not need to be the party theme, we have been involved with many families who embraced Mitzvah as the theme for their child’s celebrations. Recently we helped prepare baskets for Aliza’s donation to a local women’s shelter. When they first came to discuss their project, Aliza and her Mom had begun to gather items for women and children. However they hadn’t decided where to make this donation. Our staff did a bit of research and found a local shelter that welcomed the donation. In addition they were able to donate items specific to their needs. So Aliza and her Mom bought everything including the colorful totes and brought it to our studio. We wrapped everything up, added a label to describe the project, topped it with balloons and turned it into a celebration/donation centerpiece.
Listed below are several ideas to inspire your teen to find a Mitzvah Project that might encourage and engage them:
Kippot for Hope was established to support the Jewish communities of Uganda. As of July 2009, there are approximately one thousand Ugandan Jews. These kippot are hand made by the men and women of these communities.
Tennis Racquets for Kids was started by a pair of twins who are currently freshman in high school. They collect racquets that players are no longer using and send them to children who need them.
Coordinating Council for Children in Crisis works to prevent abuse and neglect and to serve those affected by providing home visiting and outreach, parenting education, family strengthening activities, counseling and advocacy to children and adults.
The Bali Children’s Project is dedicated to improving life through education for young people and their families in rural Bali. The Bali Children’s Project was founded on the belief that as children are empowered to realize their potential, with education these children will enrich their villages and contribute to the world we all share.
Dizzy Feet Foundation was founded in 2009 by producer Nigel Lythgoe, director Adam Shankman, “Dancing with the Stars” judge Carrie Ann Inaba and actress Katie Holmes to help underprivileged young people realize their dream of becoming professional dancers and to support, improve, and increase access to dance education in the United States.
Pediatric Cancer Foundation works to find a cure for childhood cancer. Which effects more than 12,000 infants and children every year.
Kidpower is an organization who teaches children about bullying prevention, child abuse prevention, stranger awareness and personal safety for children, teens, and adults including those with special needs. Instead of using fear to teach about danger, Kidpower makes it fun to learn to be safe.
If your teen is interested in helping animals there are many excellent animal rescue organizations in the Maryland area. Here are a few:
Days End Farm Horse Rescue
Whimsical Animal Rescue Heidi’s family came across this rescue when they adopted their dog Lacey a few years ago.
Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter BARCS
The Maryland SPCA
You can also create your very own Panda Page on the World Wildlife Fund site to raise money to save endangered animals.
Saving Grace Animal Rescue of Maryland saves the lives of pets and enhance the lives of people by finding the perfect new fur-baby for each family. They accept supplies and monetary donations to care for the animals.
Here in Baltimore, you can participate in giving to LifeBridge Health. One of many things you can do is contact the Hackerman-Patz House at Sinai Hospital and provide a meal and spend time with their residents, many of whom are children and families. They also accept donations of art supplies, cleaning supplies, electronic and board games, toiletries, movie and sporting tickets, among other things. Call 410-601-8774 to get involved.
The Mitzvah Bowl is an online guide for finding the ideal bar/bat mitzvah projects in the Philadelphia area. The site lists volunteer opportunities for students looking to fulfill community service hours.
We encourage you to share any additional Mitzvah Projects you have found here for others to benefit from your research.