Two years ago, for his mitzvah project, Brett Rosenberg decided to become a Junior Tutor at The Cottage Schools, JCCA’s residential programs in Pleasantville, NY. His mother, Ali Rosenberg, was delighted, and, in the spirit of “giving back,” she became a mentor and began involving her whole family in volunteering on the Campus.
Last fall, Brett and a group of Junior Tutors decided to “adopt” Cottage 16 at Edenwald Center, a program serving children who have emotional difficulties, low IQs and other developmental disorders. Since then, Brett and the group come to the Campus once a month where they have planted flowers , baked cookies and played sports and games with the youth. Chaperoned by some parents, Brett and the group members decide on the activities. “It means so much to the Campus kids,” says Ali. “For many of them, it’s their first experience of this kind of activity, and they’re so grateful.”
Ali and her family are also mentors to Marquis, now 20, an Edenwald youth who has become an important part of their lives. They take him out to eat once a month and have attended a basketball game with him. The Rosenberg’s youngest child, Phoebe, 3 ½, took weekly swimming lessons with Marquis this summer, which both thoroughly enjoyed. “The first time Phoebe and Marquis met, it was instant friendship. Their relationship is so sweet—Marquis is so gentle, warm and loving. They adore each other, Ali adds.” This summer, the family went to a horse farm and had a blast. To continue the family tradition, her younger son, Sam, 12, is currently participating in the Junior Tutor program this year, also tutoring Marquis.
Near tears, Ali explains, “Marquis’s impact on our lives has been tremendous. He’s so generous. Whenever we go out to eat, he always wants to bring something back for the other kids in his cottage. He wants to share whatever he has, but, in fact, he has given us so much.”