From Mica at age 18
As a young boy traveling in Nicaragua, I had played baseball with the locals and their scrappy homemade equipment. When my synagogue announced the required Bar Mitzvah community service project, I immediately thought of that makeshift gear, and began to collect bats, balls, and mitts. I donated it to youth leagues in Cuba, the country that sheltered my grandfather during the Holocaust.
For three years, my family navigated around the U.S. foreign policy that threatened my project. With great effort, we sent twelve boxes of equipment. Finally, we went to Cuba, the last 300 pounds in tow.
I feared giving the equipment directly to kids. I feared facing the poverty, and recognizing my own privilege. Yet on my last day in Cuba, swept up in the moment, I offered my remaining gear to a group of kids playing street ball. They swarmed over me, grabbing and claiming the gear.
In that moment, I understood that my “huge” project was just a drop in their bucket. I felt both discouraged and vindicated. I had addressed the need—wasn’t that an admirable endeavor? Yet I had helped only a sliver of the needy with a sliver of donations. “My first reaction was to question the meaning of my “positive work.” I understand its value, but much remains unanswered. Regardless, I seek the fulfillment that this work provides. I board the train to seek deeper truths, not knowing where I will end up.
From Mica at age 12, from Got Balz? Causes.com
Hello! I am Mica Jarmel-Schneider, Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider’s son. I am a seventh grader at Alice Fong Yu in San Francisco. I am becoming a Bar Mitzvah this upcoming year, and I am doing a community service project.
I have chosen a project that involves something that I love: baseball. I am collecting and sending baseballs, baseball mitts, helmets, and catcher’s equipment to poor communities in Cuba. I have found a non-profit organization, Global Exchange, that will bring the baseball equipment down there and make sure it gets to coaches who can use it with kids.
I am asking for help in a few ways. If you live in the Bay Area and have any equipment that you are willing to donate, that would be great. Also, if you don’t have any equipment, or don’t live in the Bay Area, then a small amount of money would be fantastic. A donation of $1, $2, or $5 will go a long way. I will use this money to buy used equipment at local thrift stores, because they are cheaper and I can get more of it for the same amount.
Even if you don’t donate, I would greatly appreciate it if you give thought to my project and try to make changes in the world everyday. Every person needs to help for the world to be a better place.
If you have any questions, please e-mail my mom or call me at home, xxx-xxx-xxx.
Thanks for your consideration.
1. Everyone should be able to do what they love.
2. Your ability to do what you want to do shouldn’t depend on your income
3. My goal is to offer kids in Cuba a chance to play baseball by providing them with gear and balls.