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May 29, 2016 / 21 Iyar, 5776
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One Young Lady’s Drive To Build A Playground

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   “Building From Bottles” is a community-wide endeavor orchestrated by Avigail Borah, an 11-year-old from Hewlett, NY. Her goal is to amass enough recyclable bottles and cans and donate the redeemed proceeds to One Israel Fund (OIF) to help build a playground for the Jewish children living in Israel.


   Even with a promise of matching funds from a generous friend of OIF, in order for Avigail to reach her goal, some 80,000 bottles must still be collected and processed – an ambitious task to say the least. But with the help of her mom, school principal, sister Ariella and many friends, neighbors, classmates and local stores she is well on her way.


   To that end, Brach’s Five Towns Supermarket has given Avigail the opportunity to host her first bottle drive by the recycling machines on Sunday, November 14 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. All are encouraged to bring their cans and bottles to the Brach’s parking lot at 11 Lawrence Lane, process them in the machines and then donate the slips to the Building From Bottles team to help bring this project to fruition.


Avigail (left) with her sister Ariella


   The idea for this project came about when OIF honored Avigail and her Girl Scout Troop (703) for coordinating the sale and shipment of 350 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to Israeli soldiers on the front. An OIF video, at the dinner, depicting a woman’s efforts to build a playground in honor of her fallen son inspired Avigail to begin this project in honor of her becoming a bat mitzvah.


   “We are so proud of Avigail’s commitment to this program, the environment and her fellow Jews,” said mom Andrea Borah. “She has spearheaded the effort from the start. The appreciation she shows to each friend, neighbor or classmate who helps in the process is admirable and proof to us of the type of woman she is becoming.”


   When Rookie Billet, incoming principal at Bnot Shulamith Middle School, heard of Avigail’s choice of project for her bat mitzvah she immediately got on board. Today, there are receptacles in every elementary and middle school classroom and there is a school-wide competition among the grades to see which can bring in the most bottles and cans – periodic ice cream parties are the tempting treat that keeps the competitive spirit alive.


   “It’s been inspirational to see the extraordinary response from our students to Avigail’s recycling project,” noted Billet. “The students are so careful about recycling their drink bottles and they even bring in big trash bags of bottles from home on Monday mornings. It’s amazing how one young woman can inspire a whole school.”


   “Children don’t understand when they’re supposed to fail – which is why they most often succeed,” said Scott M. Feltman, One Israel Fund’s executive director. “Adults, more often than not, only see the obstacles to success. With kids they only see the end goal and that’s why their drive to succeed is unparalleled. From one young woman’s idea, to her entire school’s weekly contributions and local stores and other institutions getting behind the project, I am sure Avigail will not only fulfill her quest but exceed her goals beyond even her own imagination.”


   Building From Bottles is more than just Avigail’s personal dream, it’s a very tangible reality that has energized and mobilized so many. With some 20,000 recyclables collected to date, there is still so much to do. Visit the Building From Bottles Facebook page for ideas and drop off locations or bring your cans and bottles to Brach’s parking lot on Sunday, November 14 and see what a difference a nickel can make That’s 20,001 and counting. And if you are interested in bringing this campaign to your school, synagogue or community, please contact One Israel Fund at 516-239-9202 or e-mail projects@oneisraelfund.org.

Carrie Beylus

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