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So sad about chessed opportunity for daughter
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amother




OP
 

Post Wed, Sep 21 2022, 7:11 am
DD16 is in 11th grade and I've been so excited that she will finally be able to participate in a meaningful chessed. In 9th and 10th grades, they match up the girls with a family that can use a mothers helper for an hour a week. She tagged along with a friend to the friends relative. I know she enjoyed herself but it didn't feel like a real chessed. This year, the girls are old enough to volunteer for one of the many wonderful organizations in town (along the lines of Chai Lifeline, respite for special needs, kiruv program, etc). I like the idea of her being affiliated with a program-it helps her look beyond her own self and preferences.
Each of the organizations came to school and told the girls about what they do and what they need. (this is all voluntary). DD chose an organization to volunteer with and I thought it was a great choice. She is a wonderful girl but has a hard time thinking about other people and their needs so I felt this would be a great opportunity. The organizations vet each girl who is interested to make sure she is a good fit for what they are doing.
DD had an interview with the heads, they researched her by speaking to her teachers and references, and she was chosen for the program.
I paid for her to get a sweatshirt with their logo that she would wear with pride. She put the bumper sticker on the car. She was eager and happy to get started.
They had an event last week with all the volunteers to let them know what they need to do, what the expectations are, etc. DD was so excited and had me put each of the programs she will be involved with on my calendar.
They told the girls that they would each be given a "client" to work with and would be notified before Shabbos who their person is. There was a big opening event on Sunday which looked really fun and DD was excited to attend with her client.
Toward the end of the week, they emailed DD that they are sorry but they don't have a client to match with her. They are still hoping that more clients will be made available to them but in the meantime, she should just hold still.
So no big event Sunday. No client. No chessed. She is on their mailing list and seeing fliers about the great programs that she won't be needed for.
I am upset that the organization took more girls than they had clients. To be fair, they were going based on previous experience and thought there would be "work" for everyone.
DD is not naturally driven and will not seek out opportunities with the other organizations.
And I'm bummed out.
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Rubies




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 21 2022, 7:13 am
I could use some help.
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Ema of 4




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 21 2022, 7:17 am
amother OP wrote:
DD16 is in 11th grade and I've been so excited that she will finally be able to participate in a meaningful chessed. In 9th and 10th grades, they match up the girls with a family that can use a mothers helper for an hour a week. She tagged along with a friend to the friends relative. I know she enjoyed herself but it didn't feel like a real chessed. This year, the girls are old enough to volunteer for one of the many wonderful organizations in town (along the lines of Chai Lifeline, respite for special needs, kiruv program, etc). I like the idea of her being affiliated with a program-it helps her look beyond her own self and preferences.
Each of the organizations came to school and told the girls about what they do and what they need. (this is all voluntary). DD chose an organization to volunteer with and I thought it was a great choice. She is a wonderful girl but has a hard time thinking about other people and their needs so I felt this would be a great opportunity. The organizations vet each girl who is interested to make sure she is a good fit for what they are doing.
DD had an interview with the heads, they researched her by speaking to her teachers and references, and she was chosen for the program.
I paid for her to get a sweatshirt with their logo that she would wear with pride. She put the bumper sticker on the car. She was eager and happy to get started.
They had an event last week with all the volunteers to let them know what they need to do, what the expectations are, etc. DD was so excited and had me put each of the programs she will be involved with on my calendar.
They told the girls that they would each be given a "client" to work with and would be notified before Shabbos who their person is. There was a big opening event on Sunday which looked really fun and DD was excited to attend with her client.
Toward the end of the week, they emailed DD that they are sorry but they don't have a client to match with her. They are still hoping that more clients will be made available to them but in the meantime, she should just hold still.
So no big event Sunday. No client. No chessed. She is on their mailing list and seeing fliers about the great programs that she won't be needed for.
I am upset that the organization took more girls than they had clients. To be fair, they were going based on previous experience and thought there would be "work" for everyone.
DD is not naturally driven and will not seek out opportunities with the other organizations.
And I'm bummed out.

Can she volunteer to be a general helper for the organization? Maybe they need some help. This way, she would still be involved with them and could go to the events, and also they won’t forget about her!
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amother




Honeysuckle
 

Post Wed, Sep 21 2022, 7:25 am
Sorry you're bummed. It's hard.


Why can't she go to the big event as a floater or sub for a volunteer who can't come? Encourage her to reach out.
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amother




OP
 

Post Wed, Sep 21 2022, 7:43 am
Yes, she can totally volunteer in another capacity in the organization. But I think she's lost interest because of what happened.
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Rubies




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 21 2022, 7:46 am
I realize now how my comment might seem snarky. Was not meant that way.

It's a pity that there are so many like me who could really use some help but won't be 'on the list' as thankfully nothing extreme is going on in my life.

So, we have many overwhelmed mothers and teens willing to help but never the twain shall meet.
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PinkFridge




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 21 2022, 7:51 am
amother OP wrote:
Yes, she can totally volunteer in another capacity in the organization. But I think she's lost interest because of what happened.


I think she needs to be validated. Totally.
And then, at the right time, she should learn a lesson that the other girls aren't going to have a chance to learn: that it's not that "I'm" doing the chesed but that the chesed gets done. Internalizing this attitude is a big avodah and she'll surely get schar for this perspective.
Maybe then she'll feel a shtoltz about being a floater.
Hatzlacha.
And hugs. What a bummer.
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Chayalle




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 21 2022, 7:58 am
I'm with Rubies. I'm not sure why OP considers volunteering for an organization to be a bigger or more real Chessed than helping a Mom in need. I don't think it shows her to look beyond herself and preferences. I think it actually teaches her to go where the hype is.

With my own DD's, I've tried to drive home the message that Chessed begins at home. And also, Chessed isn't about social opportunities and noise. It's about quietly helping out where needed.

And that's the kind of Chessed I personally encouraged. I have a relative whose DD is the Queen of Chessed at all these organizations. She ran in big circles. Volunteers for a major organization, had families she helped, drives for them, is amazing there. But at home, she does not lift a finger. She can't clear anyone else's plate off the Shabbos table, and will never help out with babysitting in her own home. But she does big Chessed out there. She's awesome.

My girls spent 9th/10th grade helping a relative who was on partial bedrest. They gained more than they gave. They did baths and pj's and feeding supper and played on the floor with their little 3rd cousins.

After that, I had a relative in my family who RL had cancer. My girls rolled up their sleeves, washed dishes, babysat, swept the floor, and did laundry. They didn't go thru an organization. They didn't get a sweatshirt or go to any events. They just showed up where they knew it was needed.

They can go to Bikur Cholim and cook in the kitchen, and help restock pantries, and there they even get sweatshirts which they could care less about. They learned to do what needs to be done without bells and whistles.

I'm sorry for your DD's disappointment OP, but sorry to be blunt, the missed opportunities of Chessed were not in this particular experience, but in the whole attitude.
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PinkFridge




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 21 2022, 8:04 am
Chayalle wrote:
I'm with Rubies. I'm not sure why OP considers volunteering for an organization to be a bigger or more real Chessed than helping a Mom in need. I don't think it shows her to look beyond herself and preferences. I think it actually teaches her to go where the hype is.
.


I don't think we can fight City Hall. Yes, chesed begins at home. Yes, these more glamorous chasadim sometimes lead to othering the recipients of the chesed. But this is how the school works and something OP's daughter has been looking forward to. And thought she'd be a part of.
I think the chesed starts at home lessons aren't what should be stressed...yet.
Of course if such an opportunity presents itself, it would be great for OP's daughter to be involved in.
(It's also possible that there are enough girls in the younger grades to fill the needs.)
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Chayalle




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 21 2022, 8:11 am
PinkFridge wrote:
I don't think we can fight City Hall. Yes, chesed begins at home. Yes, these more glamorous chasadim sometimes lead to othering the recipients of the chesed. But this is how the school works and something OP's daughter has been looking forward to. And thought she'd be a part of.
I think the chesed starts at home lessons aren't what should be stressed...yet.
Of course if such an opportunity presents itself, it would be great for OP's daughter to be involved in.
(It's also possible that there are enough girls in the younger grades to fill the needs.)


I guess I disagree. I think the Chessed Begins at Home should come from the home, even and for sure if the school is pushing big events and organizations. I'm not saying a girl shouldn't become a Chai Lifeline volunteer, but MY personal message to my girls isn't going to be that that's a real Chessed, any more real than helping a Mom. They are all Chessed, and sometimes the quieter Chessed is the real deal, IMVHO.
I think it's never to early to stress the Chessed starts at home lessons (or with your neighbor that obviously needs help with her little ones.....)

(I will add a caveat that I will send my girls to help a neighbor when the situation there is a good fit for my DD. I wouldn't send them into a situation that is too much for their personal maturity, etc....if the situation is unstable in any way, or not positive, too much neediness, it's not for them - it needs an adult (or a few).)
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amother




Ghostwhite
 

Post Wed, Sep 21 2022, 8:15 am
Op I hear you..
I still remember how when I was in high school it became the thing to volunteer to feed hospital patients.. I signed up all excited to go with my friends..
There was an orientation kind of meeting scheduled and suddenly my mother realized I had an appointment scheduled for the same time.. She didn't want me to cancel my apt and thought it would be fine if I missed this 'orientation'.. thought I could make it up another time etc..
Well turns out I couldn't.. Once I didn't attend that initial meeting I was taken off the list to volunteer at the hospital and they told me they had enough girls and I couldn't join..

When my friends came late to school after feeding at the hospital wearing their special badges etc.. I remember feeling left out.. (Looking back now I realize it really wasn't about the chesed. It was me feeling left out of a social dynamic..)

It's not right what the organization did and I hope they are able to pair her up with someone.. However, if they are not try and encourage to sign up with a diff organization..(Can she still sign up with a another org thru her school? )
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amother




Rose
 

Post Wed, Sep 21 2022, 8:23 am
Telling people to not care about hype and sweatshirts is like saying that all learning should be lishma. Well, maybe it should ideally and maybe it is for some people, but realistically many people are sometimes motivated in other ways: food, peer pressure, social status, parties, prizes, recognition. The goal is eventually it will be lishma, but in the meantime we don't scoff at the kids who come learn for the pizza or because their friends are there.

Apart from the hype, volunteer organizations can bring a tremendous amount of value to both volunteers and recipients with their resources, institutional experience, and finely honed and streamlined processes. As an attorney, for example, doing pro bono through an organization is a million times more efficient than if I had to do it from scratch for random people. The intake is handled, the forms and example documents are there, people with more experience are available to consult if needed.
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Ema of 4




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 21 2022, 8:42 am
Chayalle wrote:
I'm with Rubies. I'm not sure why OP considers volunteering for an organization to be a bigger or more real Chessed than helping a Mom in need. I don't think it shows her to look beyond herself and preferences. I think it actually teaches her to go where the hype is.

With my own DD's, I've tried to drive home the message that Chessed begins at home. And also, Chessed isn't about social opportunities and noise. It's about quietly helping out where needed.

And that's the kind of Chessed I personally encouraged. I have a relative whose DD is the Queen of Chessed at all these organizations. She ran in big circles. Volunteers for a major organization, had families she helped, drives for them, is amazing there. But at home, she does not lift a finger. She can't clear anyone else's plate off the Shabbos table, and will never help out with babysitting in her own home. But she does big Chessed out there. She's awesome.

My girls spent 9th/10th grade helping a relative who was on partial bedrest. They gained more than they gave. They did baths and pj's and feeding supper and played on the floor with their little 3rd cousins.

After that, I had a relative in my family who RL had cancer. My girls rolled up their sleeves, washed dishes, babysat, swept the floor, and did laundry. They didn't go thru an organization. They didn't get a sweatshirt or go to any events. They just showed up where they knew it was needed.

They can go to Bikur Cholim and cook in the kitchen, and help restock pantries, and there they even get sweatshirts which they could care less about. They learned to do what needs to be done without bells and whistles.

I'm sorry for your DD's disappointment OP, but sorry to be blunt, the missed opportunities of Chessed were not in this particular experience, but in the whole attitude.

There are so many girls who DO do chessed in the home (although not their own homes.) Homework helpers, just another set of hands to help out…
What I don’t understand is why schools aren’t reinforcing that chessed really DOES begin at home, and the girls should make sure their moms don’t need them before they go off to someone else’s house. Not to mention many times mom has to drive them to and/or from this “job” which is often very inconvenient for mom.
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amother




NeonGreen
 

Post Wed, Sep 21 2022, 8:47 am
Sounds like an org like friendship circle which has to make itself really cool in order to be attractive for the teens. So there's a lot of hoopla around it. There's lots of other valid chessed projects that aren't as cool...
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amother




Arcticblue
 

Post Wed, Sep 21 2022, 8:48 am
When my DD was younger, she signed up to work with Friendship Circle, doing Friends At Home. She was so excited. It took until November for her to have a “Match”. She was disappointed, to say the least. Many of her classmates had matched day one. I pushed her be involved anyway. To be a floater/help set up events/just be available. Even for the reason of so that they don’t forget you and when they have a new person you will be on their radar.
IMO, it was such a bracha. Instead of just getting to know her “client”, which she did-just a little while later, she was able to really get involved in and understand the organization. She was able to forge a connection with the director, help with other clients and see a broader scope of people and needs, and see a little of how things work-tables need to be set up, carnival booths need to be run, papers need to be copied….
As after she had the friend, she was still aware of the need and would give extra time.
It has been 10 years and FC and the special needs community has been one of the strongest and most influential things in her life, impacting her career, Shidduchim, continued involvement, and place of giving Tzedaka. I think that had she just had a “client” from day one, she very liked would have done her thing for the year or two and then moved on when either she graduated or the child no longer needed a “friend”.

Definitely hear your daughter’s disappointment and frustration. Wishing you both an easy time finding the bracha in it, and a wonderful happy and healthy new year.
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Chayalle




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 21 2022, 8:50 am
amother Rose wrote:
Telling people to not care about hype and sweatshirts is like saying that all learning should be lishma. Well, maybe it should ideally and maybe it is for some people, but realistically many people are sometimes motivated in other ways: food, peer pressure, social status, parties, prizes, recognition. The goal is eventually it will be lishma, but in the meantime we don't scoff at the kids who come learn for the pizza or because their friends are there.

Apart from the hype, volunteer organizations can bring a tremendous amount of value to both volunteers and recipients with their resources, institutional experience, and finely honed and streamlined processes. As an attorney, for example, doing pro bono through an organization is a million times more efficient than if I had to do it from scratch for random people. The intake is handled, the forms and example documents are there, people with more experience are available to consult if needed.


Sure, but calling that a real Chessed as opposed to the Help-a-Mom program is mixed up, because both are Chessed (and in fact, as you say, one may be even less L'shma than the other). Saying that that will teach her more about thinking of others sounds even more mixed up.

As another posted said, it was about being left out of a social dynamic. I certainly feel bad for a teen who goes thru this. I just don't see it as the "lost Chessed opportunity" that OP is claiming it is.

Volunteering for an organization can be a very rewarding experience for a teen, and is also tremendous for the clients. I'm not opposed to teens being involved in this.

It's just that when it comes with the attitude that this is real Chessed, vs. quiter, less socially-inclusive types of Chessed, that there can actually be fallout for a teen, and they end up learning nothing at all in terms of life-skills. (that's when you hear about adults who neglect the needs of their own families in order to do "Chessed", and it becomes about who can make the most noise, get attention, be visible, vs. really doing Chessed.)
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amother




Daphne
 

Post Wed, Sep 21 2022, 8:54 am
That's also the difference between a school sponsored program and an informal neighborhood one. It's a big responsibility to send girls into homes that may need to be vetted. It makes more sense to encourage official programs with oversight.
Years ago when communities were smaller and everyone knew all the families well it was different. Honestly I wouldn't just send my daughter to a strange family that called and requested help if I don't know them or trust the person vouching for them.
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Ema of 4




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 21 2022, 8:59 am
amother NeonGreen wrote:
Sounds like an org like friendship circle which has to make itself really cool in order to be attractive for the teens. So there's a lot of hoopla around it. There's lots of other valid chessed projects that aren't as cool...

Why do you have to call out one specific organization by name? Especially when you have no idea if it’s really this organization? Doesn’t seem so nice….
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amother




Daphne
 

Post Wed, Sep 21 2022, 9:02 am
Just to add, I did do that sort of chessed when I was in high school 25 years ago. And there was a family that had a big rotation of girls because they were high need with many children under a certain age. Everyone realized the mom really needed an extra set of hands!
Some years later, my father's good friend confided in him that the father of the family (his relative) had molested a teenage niece and the family was no longer on speaking terms.
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Chayalle




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 21 2022, 9:03 am
amother Daphne wrote:
That's also the difference between a school sponsored program and an informal neighborhood one. It's a big responsibility to send girls into homes that may need to be vetted. It makes more sense to encourage official programs with oversight.
Years ago when communities were smaller and everyone knew all the families well it was different. Honestly I wouldn't just send my daughter to a strange family that called and requested help if I don't know them or trust the person vouching for them.


And to some extent that is why I sent my own DD's to the homes of relatives to help, rather than someone the school would send to (which was acceptable to the school program). I prefer to send them to someone I know and feel comfortable with. (nowadays though the school does do a better job at vetting families, and they also have a report-back system just in case....)

I have posted (ETA not on this thread, but previously on this site) that I personally was twice sent to do Chessed in the homes of families where no teen should have been sent (IMVHO) as part of the school program.

In one situation, though BH nothing happened, the father was home and was way too friendly to me and the other girl who came, to the point we were creeped out and uncomfortable (and some years later, I heard the mother and daughter left him and were in a shelter....). My 14 year old self should never have been sent there.

And in the other situation, I was sent to help out in a home where the mother was severely depressed, and the needs were really gross (like to clean a moldy chulent pot). I think that's more than should be expected of a teen.

And this was when communities were smaller and everyone knew the families well and they still sent teens to such situations, because there was this prevalent mentality that teens are the answer to all Chessed needs.


Last edited by Chayalle on Wed, Sep 21 2022, 9:11 am; edited 1 time in total
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