by Samantha Aitken

A few months ago I received an email from two students in Grade 7 attending Vancouver Talmud Torah school (VTT). Max Finkleman and Matthew Armstrong contacted me as they had chosen the Children’s Heart Network as the charity they would like to support for their school project. Matthew was born with Tetralogy of Fallot, a complex heart condition, and Max has a brother, Leo, with the same condition. In Grade 7, students become B’nei Mitzvah and learn about their responsibilities to the community and the world around them. The culmination of their Tikkun Olam learning happens with the Mitzvah of Valuing Philanthropy (MVP) program. During this teen philanthropy program the students learn in a hands-on way what it means to become a caring and responsible adult.

During the year, students will select a mitzvah (commandment) of meaning to them, and then research, interview, and select an agency that delivers on that mitzvah. Max and Matthew selected the CHN. They then presented the mission and needs of the CHN to their classmates. As a group, the whole class raised funds in many different ways. Some of the different initiatives were bake sales, babysitting, a 5 km run, and organizing birthday parties.

The students subsequently worked together to assess the needs and, as a class, decided how to allocate to every agency from their pool of funds. The year culminates in a Ceremony of Giving, as representatives from the chosen agencies come to VTT to receive their grants from the students.

I had the pleasure of being at that ceremony and am so very proud of the incredible job they did with their presentation to the class. I was thrilled to accept a cheque on behalf of the CHN for $930! A huge heart-felt thank you to Max and Matthew for the amazing job they did and to the whole Grade 7 class for selecting to support our heart families! ♥

“Max and Matthew” is from our fall 2018 newsletter, Heart Matters. See our Newsletters page for more stories and to subscribe.

Samantha attending the Ceremony of Giving with Max and Matthew.