After years of our families participating in TBE’s Mitzvah Day, several years ago we decided it was time to give back to TBE and run a Mitzvah Day activity ourselves. We were offered leadership for a social action project to make craft kits for families in the Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP).
PCHP is a national organization that helps toddlers and their families close the “preparation gap” so children enter school ready to learn. The families that participate in this program face challenges such as poverty, limited education, and language and/or literacy issues. The organization exposes at-risk children to books and models quality verbal interaction.
At first the task seemed daunting. How could we fit this project in between the needs of our young families and full time work? What project could we do that would actually make a difference? We partnered closely with Debbie Brush, the longtime PCHP director, to create craft kits that reinforce the book themes introduced by the PCHP home educators. For example, the last theme was sea life, and we created craft kits with pictures of sea animals to correlate with books on the subject.
For years, we ran the PCHP craft kit project during Mitzvah Day. Even though TBE no longer hosts Mitzvah Day, we continue to create meaningful projects for PCHP, TBE families, our children, and ourselves. This year, we ran the activity with the Family Social Action Group for families with children in K-5th grade. It was a great success, and an added bonus—we were able to do the project outside in the sukkah!
Even though our children are (nearly) grown, every year we look forward to collaborating with PCHP to create a new project.