While the yearlong Twelve Batmi program is centred on engaging girls and parents in giving to enrich their batmitzvah year, there are times when we can't resist taking advantage of the opportunity to impress upon the girls some other very important messages.
The quote above is the trigger behind two of our three sessions last month. We were very fortunate to have three extraordinary Jewish women changemakers speak to our families and share their journey to impress upon our girls that women can be, and change, and do so much to make the world a better place.
Kathy Kaplan OAM, founder of Impact, Morgan Lincoln, co founder of NCJWA (Vic)'s The Jam Project and Jenna Fivelman, co founder of Flying Fox, inspired our audience as they explained the difference that each organisation makes - Impact, which supports women and children that have fled family violence; Jam Project, which connects young women in their 20s with 14-15 year old girls to provide them with mentoring and guidance; and Flying Fox, which provides camps and trips for siblings of and children and young adults with disabilities.
Families told us that their daughters learnt:
"There are many ways in which you can help others and it can be so simple - and enjoyable - to do so."
"There are some incredible individuals with great ideas for making change and helping people"
"Even the smallest things can make a huge difference to someone"
What was special about this experience was that for the first time, we connected our batmitzvah girls to girls their own ages who have fled their homes because of family violence. It's a pretty big concept to get your head around as a kid - that at your age, there are girls who are unsafe at home, who have had to run away with their mum and leave behind their schools, friends, belongings and everything they know to go into hiding from a family member.
However, this also helped the girls really identify with who they were helping, and so this happy bunch of Twelve families crafted, wrapped, packed and wrote the most heartfelt messages to the girls receiving our gift bags.
We are so grateful for the many donations we received - a big thank you Sussan who so generously donated 150 vouchers for all our April sessions, to Alperstein Designs for their gorgeous bags, The Body Collection, Toby Levy, Omnitex Industries, and all our families and friends who helped with our drive.
Photos by Aaron Zajonc Photography