We love to pass along great ideas and information, especially when the organization has a special and meaningful Mitzvah Project idea for our kids!
We caught up with Silvana Gullo, the Director of Development for the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County to learn more about this great organization and a special upcoming event.
MM: Please tell us about the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center and your mission.
SG: The Center’s mission is to teach the lessons of the Holocaust to fight intolerance in our schools, in workplaces and throughout the community. By examining the roles of individuals in the Holocaust – the victims, the perpetrators, the bystanders, and the up standers – we inspire students and adults to examine the roles they play when witnessing intolerance.
The Holocaust as a lesson is powerful enough to give you a window of opportunity to reach into a person’s soul. Haven’t we all fallen victim to intolerance at some point in our lives? What would you want someone to do if you were the victim? Our programs inspire people to recognize their responsibility to choose the role they play when faced with intolerance and encourage them to be an up stander.
MM: Please explain what your upcoming event, A Walk To Remember, is all about.
SG: A Walk To Remember is an annual event to honor the memory of the children killed during the Holocaust and raise funds for the Children’s Memorial Garden at the Center. This year the event will be held on April 25, 2010, and ties in to JServe’s National Community Service day.
Welwyn Preserve in Glen Cove, NY provided the perfect setting for last year’s A Walk To Remember
The event includes an educational experience while the participants enjoy a leisurely walk on the beautiful grounds of the Welwyn Preserve, a 247-acre preserve in Glen Cove, NY. Walkers will learn specifically about children’s personal experiences during the Holocaust at five checkpoints along the walk.
Each participant and their sponsors will receive the name and bio of a Holocaust child they will be walking in memory of. Paper butterflies in the participants’ and sponsors’ names will be posted on a butterfly wall commemorating the event.
Each butterfly represents a Holocaust child
Participants can benefit by:
– Earning community service credits for participating in a hands-on planting project the morning of the Walk in the Garden, and by helping to raise funds for and build awareness of the Center by engaging sponsors.
– Earning permanent recognition in the Garden by generating contributions for the Walk of $1,000 and above for an engraved plaque in the garden.
– Having the opportunity to meet a Holocaust survivor who will describe their own experience
MM: Can you please explain what the Children’s Memorial Garden is all about.
SG: The Children’s Memorial Garden is the only living memorial to Holocaust children in New York State. Approximately $250,000 was invested to reestablish the existing Garden planted by the original owners of the 100-year-old estate. Monies raised by the Walk help cover the cost of maintaining the garden annually.
The Children’s Choir remembers those lost in the Holocaust with song at last year’s event, A Walk To Remember
MM: What are the various ways people can get involved?
SG: The Center provides many community service opportunities for youth groups and adults to become involved in its work. Volunteers make up 85% of the Center’s staff.
Youth opportunities include acting as the Center’s Ambassador by hosting a tolerance workshop for their Hebrew class, Temple or school or doing some hands-on work in the Center’s garden.
Adult opportunities include acting as Docents for the exhibit or working directly with the Center staff in our Education, Development, Public Relations and Administration Departments.
MM: How can participating in A Walk To Remember become a child’s Mitzvah Project?
SG: The Walk provides the perfect opportunity for children to complete their Mitzvah projects. Some ideas include:
* Hands-on participation in Garden project
* They can choose to adopt a section as their own personal Mitzvah project and engage others to help or join other youth groups the morning of the Walk.
* Introduce the Center’s unique education programs to others by asking them to support their efforts to raise funds for the Garden and to earn a permanent recognition plaque through sponsorships.
* They can include the Holocaust child they are honoring through the walk at their Bat/Bar Mitzvah (the Center’s partnership with Remember-us.org can provide the child an opportunity to include the Holocaust child in their Bat/Bar Mitzvah ceremony). Read more about Rememberus.org here.
MM: Anything else we should know about the Center?
SG: The Center’s new multi-media Holocaust exhibit opening this January will include testimony and artifacts from local survivors. Guided tours and compelling programs will be offered daily.
To sign up for the April 25, 2010, A Walk To Remember, contact Silvana Gullo at firstname.lastname@example.org.