Bar mitzvah project keeps on giving

What started as a project for his bar mitzvah has turned into an ongoing endeavor for 13-year-old Clarke Horowitz. Participating in a Samaritan Healthcare and Hospice in Marlton-based effort, Horowitz raised more than $1,200 for Beads for Education.

“It just seemed very inspiring,” Horowitz said.

In support of the Samaritan Healthcare and Hospice’s sister site, Kawempe Home Care located in Kampala, Uganda, the hospice began selling beads to help raise money for children in Uganda whose parents are too sick to garner an income, and therefore were unable to pay for their children’s education.

Joan Horowitz said her son was taken aback after learning that, unlike in the United States, education is not free in Uganda for children, costing approximately $200 per child each year.
She explained that parents who come to Kawempe Home Care are often suffering from debilitating diseases, such as HIV or tuberculosis, and are unable to work.

“He really thought this was a good way to give back and spread the awareness,” Joan said.

Making the beads out of paper and varnish, those who seek care from Kawempe Home Care craft the bracelets that are then sent to the Samaritan Healthcare and Hospice’s location in the United States, in hopes of raising money for their children’s education.

“It just caught on like wildfire,” Joan said.

After Clarke learned of Beads for Education from his mother’s friend and hospice nurse from Samaritan Healthcare and Hospice, Susan Rogoff, he and his mother soon made the trip to pick up their first batch of beads.

Soon after, he had a number of adults aiding him in his fundraising, such as the parents from his traveling baseball team and family members.

Beginning the fundraising in September, Clarke said he has no intention of giving up his fundraising efforts even though his bar mitzvah had already passed.

“This was a perfect way for me to give back,” Clarke said.

During his bar mitzvah, a doctor representing Kawempe Home Care awarded Clarke for his significant contribution to Beads for Education initiative.

In the future, Joan plans to host another bead party at her home sometime during the holidays, but has also reached out to the Voorhees Township Public Schools in hopes of hosting a school assembly centered on raising awareness about education in Uganda.

She also added that the Beads for Education program is continuing to grow and may eventually grow from selling bracelets to other items such as baskets.

“Every time I go into the office, they just get more and more, “ Joan said.

As for Clarke, he said this experience has taught him the value of hard work as well as giving him a new outlook on education.

“It taught me to value my education and not to take it for granted,” Clarke said.

For more information of Beads for Education, contact Joanne Rosen at 552–3254 or email joanne.rosen@SamaritanHealthcareNJ.org.