‘I had low self-esteem as a child. Because I wasn’t confident, I was determined to help others, particularly children.’
“I had low self-esteem as a child. Because I wasn’t confident, I was determined to help others, particularly children. My husband, a lawyer and public defender, gave me the gift of his love and support. His parents, who fought for human rights, served as role models for me. They met and fell in love when Michael was organizing the men’s laundry workers and Rose was organizing the women’s laundry workers!
“I chose a career in early childhood education and had the joy of working with the youngest of children as both a teacher and administrator. I focused on making them feel special, important and loved. I carried this into my adulthood and looked for opportunities to help others whenever I could. Over the years, my husband and I have opened our homes to over 100 people: victims of abuse, students, even strangers who were stranded at Kennedy Airport in 2010 because of the volcanoes in Iceland!
I hope to continue helping others gain confidence and be successful!
“Our children have made us proud: Grey, being nonbinary, is a champion for the LBGTQ+ community; Joanna works with autistic children; her husband, Josh, also is a caring teacher; my granddaughter, Allison, 11, sold homemade magnets and keychains and gave the proceeds to the Innocence Project.
“A turning point for me came on the day a friend invited me to join the National Council of Jewish Women. We developed the Back 2 School Store for economically challenged families, and I’ve been honored to be the coordinator since its inception in 2012. Each summer, the children come to a venue, separate from their parents/guardians, and choose new and free winter coats, sneakers, socks, underwear, T-shirts, pants, hoodies, books, school supplies, stuffed animals, and toothbrushes and toothpaste. They are escorted through the ‘store’ by their own personal shopper, one of our 300 volunteers. We empower children to make decisions. It makes them feel important.
“The reactions are precious. One little girl said, ‘I am so happy with my new shirt that my feet are dancing.’ Another child was so enamored with her new clothes that, despite the heat outside, she refused to take off her winter coat, hoodie and hat. I hope to continue helping others gain confidence and be successful!”