Friday, May 18, 2012

Jenny Maas Bat Mitzvah Project: Helping My Orphanage In Hunan

"Whoever saves one life, it is as if she has saved the whole world." The Talmud
Gongzhan Wu and Jenny Maas

For the first nine months of my life, I lived in an orphanage in Changsha, Hunan Province in China. My orphanage, the Number One Social Welfare Institute (SW1) used to house hundreds of abandoned Chinese children, and still cares for a great number (how many, we do not know). During my 13 years of living, I have never once forgotten about my beginning. As I become a Bat Mitzvah, I want to honor my history and be a part of it again as a different person.

For my mitzvah project, I have decided to make a coloring book with my own original art for the girls and boys in my orphanage. I will use a portion of my Bat Mitzvah money to buy drawing implements, markers, pencils, etc. and deliver them directly to the orphanage. I love to draw and make arts and crafts, which gave me the idea of incorporating something I love doing into my project. To make a coloring book of my own art for the girls in my old orphanage puts some of the aspects of my personality into this project, which makes it more meaningful.

The second part of my mitzvah project is donating all of my remaining Bat Mitzvah money to help Chinese orphans with special needs, so that they have a chance of being adopted and loved as equally as any other child. It is very hard for children with special needs to get the attention they need so that they can be considered for adoption. They deserve a great life as much as anyone else. Gladney Center for International Adoption will help to make the funds useful this way.

Even though I've led a very different life from these kids, I still feel a very special connection with them because I used to be one of them and was part of that life. Accomplishing this project will make my connection deeper and will help me re-establish the bond between us.                                       
-- Jenny Maas

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