Be a Sport
FS: What is Mitzvah of Love?
CL: Mitzvah is the Hebrew word for “good deed.” The bike ride became so successful, but it’s for adults and it requires going to Israel. I wanted to create something for young people here in the United States, something that would give kids a real hands-on feeling. I can’t give them a hands-on experience of what it’s like to be disabled, but they could organize an event — anything that is exercise based — and have the experience of learning how to organize something. The whole idea is doing something because you can for kids who can’t.
It was also in response to the ever-increasing number of phone calls I was getting from either school directors, principals, teachers and/or parents who wanted a meaningful charity experience for their kids.
FS: What advice can you share in terms of engaging youth?
CL: Fundraisers and nonprofits always talk about the transfer of wealth from generation to generation, but when they talk about that, they’re most likely talking about 70- and 80-year-olds transferring wealth to their children, the 50- and 60-year-olds. My idea was to empower 5- to 17-year-olds, our undiscovered mini-philanthropists.
I think you have to give them a project that’s flexible. Make it something that is meaningful to them. This is so empowering for children and such a great thing that a parent and child can do. … And there’s no finer example we can show our children than this. I think also that it’s part of empowering them to see how it’s actually possible for one person to make a difference — even a young person. It’s not about waiting until they’re grown up.