Kylie Mittler from Woodbury, New York, celebrated her Bat Mitzvah on March 28, 2014, and decided on very special Mitzvah Project to honor her late grandmother, Shelly. She calls her project, “Kylie Celebrates Our Grandmas.”
Her project will benefit Dementia Research with funds donated to several Dementia organizations.
We spoke with Kylie to learn more about her special Mitzvah Project:
MM: Can you please give us details about your Mitzvah Project?
KM: For my Mitzvah Project, I enclosed two cards along with my Bat Mitzvah invitation and response card.
One of the cards explained what I was doing:
The other card was blank, but at the top it read, KYLIE CELEBRATES Our Grandmas.
I asked everyone to send back their cards with memories of their grandmothers. We had them all posted at the party for everyone to share.
Since Kylie’s Bat Mitzvah theme was, “Kylie Paints The Town Red,” all cards were strung together and hung off paint brushes
This helped my friends and family to recognize how important it is to cherish these memories and to remind us that people with Dementia may not remember us, but we remember them. This made my project extra special because it also allowed the other kids whose grandparents had Dementia, or other illnesses, the chance to share as well. I was able to share how much I missed having my grandma there and also to raise money for this cause.
MM: Does your project have a start and end date, if so, what are they?
KM: My project was originally for the night of my party. But since then I have continued to get cards and donations. This project will continue to grow.
MM: Why did you decide to take on this particular project?
KM: My grandma Shelly was only 71 years old when she died. She had Dementia; a disease that causes you to lose your memory so that you often don’t even recognize family members. While she was not able to remember me, and was unable to do many of the things she used to do, I will ALWAYS remember many amazing things about her. I decided to make Dementia research the beneficiary of my Mitzvah Project because I was so sad that my grandma would not be able to come to my Bat Mitzvah and be a part of this special time. She has been a huge part of my life and has been there for everything I do. Even though she lived in Florida, she always made sure to come to all my parties, dance recitals and sports games.
It is sad that this disease occurs and takes even young people. I want to raise money to help others so that it doesn’t happen to their family. I also wanted my other friends to share their own memories. I think it is important to remember to take the time to share our memories to keep the important people who we love, alive. I found it so helpful to learn that some of my own friends had the same experience as me. I didn’t know that before this and it allowed us to form a new bond. I believe it touched so many people and I hope this made my grandma proud.
MM: In your own words, what does it mean to you to do a Mitzvah Project for your Bat Mitzvah?
KM: I think it is important to do a Mitzvah Project for your Bat Mitzvah. I think part of becoming an adult is being responsible and showing that you know what it means to be a role model and give back. I think it is important to share this with others and remind them that everyone should be doing things to help other people. I think that while it is fun to have a party, we need to remember others that may be less fortunate and who could benefit from our help.
MM: If it involves a donation, what are you doing to spreading the word?
KM: I have continued to let people know that I am raising money for Dementia research and also want to make people take the time to think about their Grandmas and cherish the memories. My mom put it on Facebook, my grandpa is starting a website, and we are working on a book to honor my Grandma and raise more money.
MM: Is there anything else we need to know about your Mitzvah Project?
KM: I just want everyone to know how much I will always cherish my Grandma Shelly. She was an incredible grandma with so much love to offer. She was generous, caring, kind, considerate, funny and the best grandma in the world. I want her to be proud of all the things I do and I will never forget her. I want people to continue to tell stories to their friends and families and keep all of our families memories alive.
Also, it is the best feeling when you do a Mitzvah Project that is close to your heart. I really looked forward to getting the responses, reading the messages, bonding with my friends and knowing I did something great.
We thank Kylie for sharing her Mitzvah Project with our readers.
This story is from new 2014 Mitzvah Market Magazine. If you would like to request a free copy, click here.