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Warming Hearts With Homemade Ponchos

November 25, 2013 By:
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Gavi Kamens (second from right) and her mother, Liz (right), share a moment with CADES client Aiyanna Fredericks, educator Nancy Kordalski and facility executive director Bill Benson.

Mitzvah Hero: Gavi Kamens of Rosemont stitched together two dozen fleece ponchos for residents of Children and Adult Disability and Educational Services (CADES) in Swarthmore.

What It’s All About: For the 12-year-old congregant at Temple Beth Hillel in Wynnewood, the ponchos were both a Bat Mitzvah project and a way to honor her late brother, Jacob, who had attended CADES before he died earlier this year. Gavi said she was looking online for mitzvah project ideas with her mom and discovered Project Linus, a Bloomington, Ill.-based program in which people make blankets for children in hospitals.

“So, I thought we should do this for CADES," said the seventh-grader at the Agnes Irwin School in Rosemont.

Not a One-Time Thing: The pre-teen has found comfort in helping others find theirs. She's also been involved in school bake sales to raise money for other charities. Donating the ponchos "made me happy," she said, adding that her late brother “is probably smiling down” on her now.

Good for Her: “Gavi is a remarkable person from a remarkable family,” said Marty Roelandt, associate director of philanthropy at CADES. “Young people like her who practice compassion through important projects like these grow up with a greater awareness of the needs of others. Because of her good heart, our children and adults at CADES know they are not alone and are truly part of a community who cares about them. We’re all in this together, and helping others is what it’s all about.”

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