New club strives to save children in need

Hope Mailing, Sports Editor

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When they were only 12 years old, sophomores Beatrice and Elise Katsnelson saved the lives of two children.

According to Beatrice, she and her sister decided to redirect money that would have been used for their Bat Mitzvah party toward Save a Child’s Heart, an organization whose president had taught the Katsnelsons’ father at medical school in Israel. Now, the Katsnelsons are planning to donate more to the organization, this time with the help of their classmates.

In a phone interview, Marissa Rosenfeld, the U.S. Young Leadership Director at Save a Child’s Heart, said Save a Child’s Heart is an Israeli-based organization that provides heart surgeries for children from all around the world, regardless of their ethnicities or origins.

Beatrice said she and her sister took part in creating the Glenbrook North chapter of Save a Child’s Heart after their father was invited to speak to Northwestern University’s chapter. That was when the twins realized they had a unique opportunity due to their father’s connection with the organization.

“I talked to the founders of Save a Child’s Heart at Northwestern, and I saw how they were treating my dad as, like, this really big figure,” said Beatrice. “And I [thought], ‘Well … they’re impacting so many people’s lives. Why not start that here at GBN?’”

Club advisor Kerri Kotwica said she was eager to become involved with the club because she could tell its founders were excited about the cause. In addition to the Katsnelsons, sophomores Claira Vaynberg-Movchan and Eva Farber are also cofounders of the GBN chapter.

Vaynberg-Movchan said she wants to give back by fundraising and spreading awareness. She became involved with Save a Child’s Heart because she was inspired to be a part of something greater than herself.

Thus far, the club has held food and wristband sales outside the cafeteria and sold T-shirts and wristbands at a skating event at the Northbrook Park District Sports Center, according to Elise. Club members are also planning more fundraisers at their meetings every other Tuesday morning.

Rosenfeld said her visits to the Wolfson Medical Center in Israel, where Save a Child’s Heart performs surgeries, are exemplary of the compassion of the organization.

“There was an emergency surgery of a boy who had come from Tanzania who had to be rushed to the hospital as soon as he got there,” said Rosenfeld. “His sister was hysterically crying because she was so afraid. One of our volunteers was in the hospital and [was] there to console her.”

Elise said one of her favorite parts about Save a Child’s Heart is that they treat children from all over the world, which encourages unity among the club’s members.

“Promoting a good face to Israel and peace in the Middle East is important to me, on top of helping the kids,” Elise said.

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New club strives to save children in need