A group of nine Jewish boys from Toronto was in Vancouver recently, courtesy of Chai Lifeline Canada. (photo from CLC)
A group of nine Toronto boys, aged 10-15, recently enjoyed a three-day, all-expenses-paid trip to Vancouver, courtesy of Chai Lifeline Canada, a national charity that supports the families of children or parents who suffer from serious illnesses.
The boys – each of whom has a sibling or parent who is sick – were invited on the trip as a diversion to their family challenges and as an opportunity to bond with other kids in similar situations. Students of seven different Toronto schools, the boys didn’t previously know one another, but came back from the Feb. 28-March 2 trip with strong, new friendships, said Chai Lifeline caseworker Shmuel Rosenberg.
Welcomed by the Vancouver Jewish community, the boys arrived in the city to a group of local boys handing out care packages and then joined them for an excursion to a trampoline park.
A special Shabbat was hosted by Congregation Schara Tzedeck, where the Toronto boys had the opportunity to bond with more of the local community and experience a walking tour of the city, led by Schara Tzedeck’s Rabbi Andrew Rosenblatt. Other weekend highlights included skating on the top of Grouse Mountain and hiking amid spectacular views.
Based in Toronto, with an office in Montreal, Chai Lifeline Canada has nearly 600 volunteers helping more than 2,000 family members nationally. The organization provides dozens of free initiatives to help give children stability and their families a sense of normalcy. Initiatives include counseling, tutoring for children missing extended periods of school, family retreats, sibling programs similar to that of Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and summer camps for kids. For more information, visit chailifelinecanada.org.