By: Michoel Bretter. The directors and mentors of Yeoded of Lakewood gathered for a beautiful event at Khal Zichron Yaakov honoring the mentors for their great work with local elementary age children from single parent homes, and marking the organization’s launch of a professional development program for the mentors.
In attendance were the mentors – a diverse group of talented yungerleit and baalei batim from across the Lakewood region – as well as Rabbi Lazer Lisauer, Executive Director; Rabbi Shimon Blum, Director of Development; and Rabbi Yehoshua Burnstein, MFT, Mentoring Coordinator. The Rosh Yeshiva, HaRav Malkiel Kotler shlit”a, delivered heartfelt divrei beracha for Yeoded of Lakewood’s leadership and mentors. Renowned Rav and therapist Rabbi Moshe Rotberg LCSW delivered an intriguing workshop filled with practical guidance for the mentors, and answered a long list of questions they presented.
“You are doing the Ribbono Shel Olam’s work,” Rav Malkiel remarked several times during his address. He stressed the importance of ensuring that every child gets the opportunity to have a genuine simchas hachaim in order for him to succeed in limud haTorah.
Rabbi Blum heralded the mentors for investing their talents to learn with these children; take them to Shul and Avos Ubanim; offer a listening ear; and spend hours of enjoyable time with them each week. He noted how the mentors go well beyond the official parameters of their work, and do everything they possibly can to help the children prosper at home and in Yeshiva. In addition to the Chavrusa/mentoring program, the organization runs a variety of exciting gift and trip programs throughout the year for the children as well.
The seriousness that the mentors show towards their work and the strong relationship they enjoy with each child were evident throughout Rabbi Rotberg’s workshop. Rabbi Rotberg related how enamored he was by the stories and questions he heard from individual mentors. He also praised the exceptional level of professionalism and compassion of his close friend Rabbi Burnstein, who invests heart and soul into the full picture of each child and his long term relationship with his mentor.
“You as mentors can do a much better job to build a child than I can as a therapist,” Rabbi Rotberg exclaimed. “A child who has some hardships can grow up to be perfectly fine, or even better off than his peers – but he needs the ‘yeoded,’ the encouragement, in order to do so.”
For more information about registering a child or becoming a mentor, please contact Yeoded of Lakewood at 732-272-0722. To donate or sponsor a child, please email [email protected].
Photos: Yakov Makukha/Video: Revive Multimedia.
This is such a needed organization! Hope you have lots of Hatzlocha. It is so true with the right chizuk a child of a single family home can thrive just like any other. Is there a full video of the workshop available to the public?
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