Creating a Bar/Bat Mitzvah Project as part of your rite of passage is an amazing undertaking. Quite often, the process of conceptualizing the Project, executing it and seeing the results of the Project not only impact you, as the Mitzvah Child, but your friends, family and the community also benefits. Basically, it becomes personal. For Jillian Udell of Dix Hills, NY, her Mitzvah Projects (she took on not one, but two!) were personal in many ways. Here’s what we learned from this very thoughtful young lady:
Jillian Udell is a competitive gymnast. So, naturally, 2008 was a special year, not only because it was her Bat Mitzvah year, but also because it was a Summer Olympics year. Jillian chose “the Olympics” as her Mitzvah theme and she chose the Special Olympics as the beneficiary of her Mitzvah Project.
“I thought that this was a great organization to donate to because it gives people with disabilities a chance to compete in sports they enjoy,” Jillian shares with Mitzvah Mail. “When we made the donation, we received special acknowledgement cards from Special Olympics. We obtained one card for each adult guest and put them at each guest’s plate during the dinner celebration.”
In addition to making a donation to the Special Olympics, Jillian chose to do something even more personal; she decided to give a piece of herself (literally) to people in need. Jillian donated her hair to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths, which donates wigs made of donated hair to women who have lost their own hair because of cancer treatments.
“I decided to take on this charity because some of my friends’ mothers, and countless others, are suffering from hair loss due to cancer,” Jillian explains. Jillian donated the required 8 inches of hair and plans to donate again when her hair grows another 8 inches.
Jillian getting her hair cut so she can donate
We want to thank Jillian for sharing her Mitzvah Projects with us. You really are making a difference, Jillian!