HILLSBOROUGH – For Hillsborough High School students Ethan and Ella Wolkofsky, helping support the Embrace Kids Foundation is something their family has done in many ways throughout their lives.
Their father, Matthew, most recently served on the board of directors for the organization.
During these hard times because of the coronavirus pandemic. Ethan, a junior, and Ella, a sophomore, thought it was the best time for the two of them to lend their support and help the organization once again.
“We’ve been involved with the Embrace Kids Foundation for most of our life,” Ethan said. “We attend all the events and help out as much as we can. These are challenging times and these children need our support the most right now.”
The Embrace Kids Foundation is a non-profit organization based in New Brunswick that helps children suffering from life-threatening illnesses by addressing the spiritual, financial and emotional needs of each patient and their families.
Many of the children that the organization works with are being treated in the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital-New Brunswick pediatric unit.
Because of COVID-19, all patients being treated in the hospital are unable to see their friends and families. To help children being treated in the hospital get through these times, both Ethan and Ella said they were informed by a nurse at the hospital that Amazon Kindles would be a great tool to help the children connect with their families.
The Kindles will help preoccupy the kids’ time and also relieve stress of the healthcare workers that are combating the virus and other life-threatening conditions, the two said.
Ethan and Ella set up a GoFundMe page called Support Embrace Kids Foundation to help the organization raise money to purchase Kindles and Amazon gift cards for the children to get music, movies and games for their devices.
The two siblings worked as a team to get the word out for their cause.
Ethan, who plays on the baseball team at Hillsborough High School, connected with the team and its booster club, the Raider Diamond Club, to promote their initiative. He also contacted the Peer Mentoring Club at the high school and worked with them to spread word of the fundraiser.
Being a part of the Hillsborough High School girls volleyball team, Ella was able to work with her coaches and teammates to promote the cause.
Both Ethan and Ella also contacted their synagogue in Hillsborough, Temple Beth El, to help them share their initiative with more people in the community.
Each organization will share a video of Ethan or Ella speaking out about their cause on different social media platforms that will include a link to the GoFundMe page.
Having many organizations to use as a platform to promote the fundraiser has been a big help, Ethan said.
“Being able to do this together has been a great experience,” he said. “Both of us being involved in different organizations has helped out in raising money. It’s made a big impact for sure.”
The whole Wolkofsky family has been big supporters of Ethan and Ella’s cause, donating money to the fundraiser and sharing it all over social media, both siblings said.
As of May 26, the fundraiser had raised $1,400. Ethan said the goal for the cause is around $2,500.
“We’re happy with what we’ve raised so far,” Ella said. “We have gotten a lot of support from our family and the community. What we’ve been able to do is definitely a good thing.”
This spring has been difficult, both siblings admit. COVID-19 cost Ethan his junior season on the diamond and Ella a chance to play with some of her Hillsborough High School volleyball teammates on their club team CORE Volleyball in a national tournament in Orlando. Both siblings saw spring activities in school canceled and had to hang out with friends virtually or have gatherings where all parties needed to be six or more feet apart.
It hasn’t been easy for Ethan or Ella, but the two siblings have continued to stay positive and focus on their family mantra of doing good and helping others.
“It feels good to do good,” Ethan said. “That’s something our family talks about a lot. Helping others out is what our family likes to do.”
For more information, visit www.gofundme.com/f/9pb89-covid19-relief.