How do you respond when your child does something incredible? Project Ezra and the Chesed Fund have established an Outstanding Youth Award for Exceptional Service in the fields of health and safety in the Baltimore Jewish Community. (All youth from the greater Baltimore Jewish community are invited to participate.) For the last 10 years, we have honored children in our community who have saved people’s lives or have risen above the call of duty to help others.
Now, Project Ezra and the Chesed Fund are revamping the awards program. Each month there will be a new winner. Our new program will include children who have exhibited extraordinary dedication during trying circumstances. Honorees and winners will receive their awards at an end-of-the-year recognition ceremony. Their stories will be told in local media — the Baltimore Jewish Times is one of the media sponsors — and in an inspirational book of wonderful deeds. Awardees and their families will receive a Shabbos candy platter, and their classmates will be included with a class party.
In the past month, nominations have included a young daughter who had devoted her non-school hours to caring for an extremely ill parent for the last two years. Another described a boy who, after his friend’s head dangerously collided with the wall in their school gym, supported his classmate and arranged for padding to be installed throughout the whole gym to prevent another accident.
A mother told us how her developmentally delayed child noticed the Shabbos candles had caught on fire and immediately alerted her family. In another nomination, a 5-year-old boy, in the back seat of his mother’s car, realized that his younger brother was choking. This young hero stuck his fingers into his brother’s mouth and removed an object, saving the boy’s life. Another letter detailed a youth who stepped up to the plate and led a Shomer Torah weeklong boys’ hike. A father wrote to us about his daughter’s first year at sleep-away camp, where she befriended and saved the life of a distressed fellow counselor.
The list goes on.
But that’s not all. We want to hear more heroic stories. So far, we have received several submissions, but we know there are more to share. Our guidelines are as follows: Any Baltimore Jewish youth who deserves recognition for exceptional service in health and safety or extraordinary dedication in trying circumstances can be nominated.
Please submit all nominations by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax to 410-358-7373.
Frank Storch is an area philanthropist and freelance writer.