Teen Makes A Difference In Children’s Lives

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PRINCETON—On June 9, 14-year-old Kayla Bashe received a program award from the Displaced Homemakers Network of New Jersey at the organization’s 21st Annual Awards Reception held at the official home of the Governor of New Jersey in Princeton.

Bashe was honored for her work on a project called Birthday Boxes, which uses donations to distribute birthday presents for the children of clients from the Women’s Center at Jewish Family and Vocational Service of Middlesex County.

Two years ago, Bashe approached the Women’s Center and offered to assist the clients by providing birthday gifts for their children. Her offer was met with enthusiasm from the Women’s Center staff, which was thrilled to have Bashe facilitate this project.

Bashe is an active member of Temple Emanu-El and attends Hebrew school at her synagogue. She initiated the Birthday Boxes project after the Social Action Committee of Bashe’s temple completed their annual Mitzah Day. Bashe was inspired to begin Birthday Boxes by the generosity of people assisting families during the holiday gift drive. She considered what happened to children on their individual birthdays throughout the year.

Bashe collects monetary donations from her synagogue as well as friends and family. She also receives donations from one of the classes in her Hebrew school. Bashe then uses these funds to purchase birthday gifts for needy children. The age, sex, and gift idea for each child is provided to Bashe, who selects gifts accordingly and delivers them to the center for distribution.

Bashe recognizes that birthdays are special occasions for every child and that these children look forward to celebrating their special day and receiving presents. She feels that they should be entitled to have this pleasure even though the children’s families may not be able to afford it at this time.

One of last year’s recipients was in need of indoor soccer shoes so that he could play on a local team. When the request came in, Bashe said she would do her best to fulfill that wish. She was able to find the soccer shoe in the right size, and the little boy was overjoyed to be able to be a member of the team.

Bashe’s simple, generous gesture made a huge impact in the life of a small child, and Birthday Boxes continues to make these small gestures and big influences possible for children. The Women’s Center at JFVS is grateful to Bashe and all she has done to help make birthday wishes come true.

The Women’s Center at Jewish Family and Vocational Service of Middlesex County provides personal and career related services to individuals who have been displaced from their careers as unpaid homemakers.  It specifically focuses on women separated, divorced, widowed, or whose spouses/long-term partners have become disabled.

The Women’s Center assists women through major transitions and develops the skills necessary to become economically and emotionally self-sufficient.


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