I’m a “Muppet Advisor” for Sesame Workshop’s newest character, Raya, who teaches children about hand washing and other healthy water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) behaviors. She is the first Muppet specifically developed to address a pressing global health concern in multiple countries
Location: Washington, D.C.
I’m a “Muppet Advisor” for Sesame Workshop’s newest character, Raya, who teaches children about hand washing and other healthy water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) behaviors. She is the first Muppet specifically developed to address a pressing global health concern in multiple countries. With the new and innovative partnerships we’re working on, I am optimistic that Raya can help reduce childhood illness from preventable disease. When there are special opportunities or world events, I’m able to highlight that in my role – this story from World Toilet Day on 11/19 is an example.
What was the first gift you ever gave?:
My time. My parents taught me the power of direct service and giving at a very young age. In one of his many volunteer projects, my father led weekly Shabbat services at the Jewish nursing home in Albany, often bringing me with him. I didn’t enjoy it at the time, but it’s an experience I look back on now and treasure.
What is your charity of choice?:
I think it’s important to diversify and be flexible. My interests and priorities – as well as the needs of a community – change over time. Healthcare, education, hunger, and the arts are the causes that stand out right now. I’ve tended to give to Jewish charities, though not always.
Who inspires you to give?:
My parents. We didn’t grow up with a ton of money, but they always found time to give their time and energy to our community (while raising three kids!). They both passed away well before their time, so it’s important for me to find ways to honor their legacy and support causes that were meaningful to them.
What motivates you to give?:
I have been very lucky to travel internationally for work and pleasure, even living in India as an American Jewish World Service volunteer for several months five years ago. We are so lucky to have what we do. I was raised in a Jewish household and learned to support those who are less fortunate, whether around the globe or down the street.
How do you give of your time?:
I used to be very active in Jewish groups in New York City and D.C. (where I now live), but pulled back to help care for my mom during her illness. As part of my own healing after her passing, I rescued a dog last year and enjoy providing him a safe and loving home. I’m searching for something to get me back in the volunteer game, but haven’t found the right thing yet (or, it hasn’t found me…). I always feel like I should be doing more, but I think even the small gestures and acts of charity really do add up.
What advice do you have for others to consider giving?:
It’s a bit cliché, but every bit really does help. Enough $10 contributions can add up and make a big difference. Give what you can and, if not money, lend your time and skills. Donate your clothes and household goods instead of throwing them out. Find ways to pay it forward.