To achieve his Bar Mitzvah more than three years ago, Henry Baker, a junior at , was required to do a charitable project called a mitzvah (Hebrew term that means “to express any act of human kindness”). He was inspired to help a community of Ethiopian Jews in Netanya, a coastal city north of Tel Aviv. With assistance from an organization called The Forgotten People Fund (www.FPF.org.il), Henry connected with the principal of the Shapira Middle School and 12 soon-to-be Bar Mitzvah boys were identified. Henry was eager for them to feel encouraged and motivated as they, too, began preparation for this important right-of-passage event.
Back in at Brunswick School, Henry founded the Blue Blazer Fund so that he and his classmates could work together to help the boys in Netanya pay for necessities such as school fees and books, summer camp, clothing, scholarships, dental and special medication costs, vitamins, bus cards, food vouchers, utility bills, and taxes. The Blue Blazer Fund was launched with an effort to collect gently used blazers year-round and sell them for $40.
This spring, Brunswick’s Blue Blazer Fund is offering 500 brand new, well-made, well-cut blazers (they even have snappy metal buttons) that have been designed personally by members of the Blue Blazer Fund and Peerless Clothing.
The new blazers cost $65 and are available in all sizes, ranging from those for 5th graders to rising 12th graders. One hundred percent (100%) of proceeds from purchases and donations will continue to be used to provide the 12 Ethiopian boys with supplies, summer programs, and educational tutoring that will give them an opportunity to succeed within their community and beyond. The blazers carry a full return policy, and sizing runs close to most other brands.
“The most meaningful outcome of the Blue Blazer Fund is getting to see the first-hand impact it is having on the boys we’re helping in Israel,” said Henry. “One of our main goals is to provide them with tutoring services so that they have the skills they need to graduate from high school and hopefully go on to college.”
For two weeks last summer, Henry and members of the Blue Blazer Fund had a reunion with their friends in Israel and traveled around the country.
“We all did community service by helping a local preschool with yard work, organizing toys in the classrooms, and giving the teachers some help while the kids were there,” he continued. “We wanted to set an example to show the importance of giving back to the community in Netanya.
“Seeing my Brunswick friends work hard on behalf of the boys in Israel, and watching how they developed relationships with them, confirmed my belief in the power of relationships and friendships,” Henry said.