Cooper Davis lives in Plainview, New York, and will become a Bar Mitzvah in April, 2018. He attends Hebrew School at Woodbury Jewish Center in Woodbury, New York. For his Mitzvah Project, he has chosen to help and support P.S. 5, a classroom of elementary school-aged children in Brooklyn, New York, with a broad range of special needs.
Left: Cooper is pictured with some of the donated cooking equipment.
We asked Cooper a few questions about his Mitzvah Project:
MM: Why did you decide to take on this particular project?
CD: There are some children who face emotional challenges every day because they live very hard lives. Some of the children struggle with Autism and others have different learning disabilities. I wanted to help make their school day a little easier and show them that people care about them.
MM: Can you give us details of your Mitzvah Project?
CD: My mom has a friend, Sharon Roberts, who teaches learning and emotionally disabled children in Special Education Class at P.S. 5 in Brooklyn, New York. The school is in a very low income area and the class always needs school supplies and books. They need things we take for granted every day. If I needed pencils or binders or books, my parents would go out and buy them for me. Some parents of the children at this school can’t do that all the time, they can’t afford to. We also found out that they love cooking, so we are asking for new or gently used cooking supplies, like pots and pans, mixing bowls, a toaster oven, a mini-microwave and things they can use to learn to cook so they can be independent some day. The cooking lessons give them confidence and long-term life training. The children with Autism really like to use the computer in the classroom, but they need headphones to drown out outside noise, so we are collecting those too. Hopefully when we donate everything, I can meet them and maybe cook a meal with them.
MM: Does your project have a start and end date, if so what are they?
CD: I began my project in January, 2017. I don’t want it to have an end date, so we can keep helping children who need really need it.
MM: In your own words, what does it mean to you to do a Mitzvah Project for your Bar Mitzvah?
CD: In Hebrew School they teach us to practice “tikkun olam” which means “to repair the world.” I think if everyone did something kind or thoughtful every single day, we could repair the world. My Mitzvah Project is important to me because I hope to make a difference in a child’s life.
MM: Does it involve a donation?
CD: People have been generously donating school supplies such as pencils, crayons, notebooks, bowls, pots and pans. They are also donating gift cards so we can buy the other things that the children need.
MM: What are you doing to spread the word?
CD: I emailed everyone in my family and some family friends and my mom posted about it on social media to help spread the word.
MM: How long can people donate to this charity?
CD: As long as there is a need for classroom supplies, we will keep donating.
MM: Anything else we need to know about your Mitzvah Project?
CD: Sometimes living out here on Long Island in the comfortable suburbs, we forget that there are children who are homeless, who aren’t getting the help and education they need and who struggle because they have terrible home lives. We have to help them see that people care about them. I feel lucky to be able to help other children.
For further information on how to help support Cooper and the students in Sharon Robert’s Special Education Class at P.S. 5, please email Cooper’s Mom Rebecca Davis at email@example.com.