Giving the greatest gift of all

By ROBERT LINNEHAN | The Voorhees Sun

A young Voorhees girl is running, riding and swimming for one of her best friends and to help raise funding for a new organization in the township that emphasizes equality.

Debbie Meskin, 13, will attempt to complete a 500-yard swim, a five-kilometer bike ride and two-kilometer run to raise funding and awareness for SPEAK, a new parent-faculty association in the Voorhees School District.

The Special Needs Parents, Educators, and Kids organization was approved by the Voorhees Board of Education in March to help raise awareness about special needs children in the district.

An active swimmer with the Wave Swim Team of Medford and an avid softball player, Debbie said she’s very confident she’ll be able to complete the triathlon and is looking forward to participating in the event at the Medford Sports Club.

Debbie chose to participate in the triathlon as part of preparation for her upcoming Bat Mitzvah on June 6 and because of her unique friendship with Julia Harowitz, a 5-year-old kindergarten student at Signal Hill who is a special needs child.

Debbie and Julia are great friends, Julia’s mother Linda said. Debbie is such a great role model for Julia and all of the students in Voorhees, Linda said.

“Debbie’s idea and her initiative to do something for us and Julia is such a good thing. She’s such a great role model for our kids,” she said. “I’d be thrilled if my kids, when they get to her age, would have the initiative to do something like this.”

DSee this week’s print edition of The Sun for the full story.