ChaiSpotlight: Nechama Markovic

“The best times in life are usually completely spontaneous.” – Author unknown

A few weeks ago, we got a call from an affiliate program of Chai Lifeline New York called ‘Sibs Club’, a program which exclusively services siblings of kids with illness. They were planning a trip for teenage girls to tour Niagara Falls. We immediately jumped on the opportunity to partner with them and send a group of our own girls to join the fun. Within a few short days, everyone at the office pitched in to arrange a coach bus, make reservations at all the various attractions, and of course, stock up on cookies and candy! But the final and most important detail, was to find a group of fun-loving, devoted chaperones who would ensure the girls had a safe and awesome trip.

Lucky for us, five incredible volunteers jumped at the idea of giving up their Sunday (9 AM – 10 PM!) and join the trip. They made sure our girls had the time of their lives. Somehow, they managed to arrange that a group of 15 girls, most of whom had never met, all returned home later that night laughing hysterically and talking as if they’d known each other their whole lives. The day began with a picnic lunch at the falls, followed by a ride on the Horn Blower Cruise, walking on the White Water Walk, an iMax film, Journey behind the falls and Go Karting!

The girls literally came back on a high, the volunteers – completely exhausted! What was mind-blowing for me to observe, was how in the few hours that some other people might have been sleeping in, getting some work done, relaxing with friends, catching up on their favourite show, or shopping, these five ladies were giving a group of very deserving kids a break from focusing on hospital appointments, parents being in and out of the emergency room, and the other daily worries that Chai Lifeline kids are preoccupied with. Guaranteed, each of these volunteers had a less than energized day at work that Monday – but the smiles on these girls faces made it well worth it.

So, thank you to Nechama, Tzahala, Michal, Revaya and Sara, and to the many other volunteers like them who give of their time to bring fun and joy to kids who need it.

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