Student’s bat mitzvah project to help Ronald McDonald House

By Nancy Eagleton….

Jessica Schwartzman

Jessica Schwartzman, a Palmetto Bay resident and eighth grade student at Southwood Middle School, is on a mission to gather donations for the Ronald McDonald House of Miami.

As part of her bat mitzvah project, Schwartzman has chosen to focus on the needs of the Ronald McDonald House in honor of her family friend, Faith Griffin, who lost her life to a brain tumor two years ago at age 5.

“The Ronald McDonald House of New York helped Faith’s family so much when they spent time there getting treatment for Faith,” Schwartzman said.

Faith’s mother, Sonya Griffin, said that the Ronald McDonald House was their “home away from home.”

“Thank God for the Ronald McDonald House,” she said. “It was such a comfortable, safe haven for us to return to each evening while Faith was being treated. They are there to provide shelter and support to every family who checks into that house.”

Schwartzman’s bat mitzvah will take place in October at Temple Beth Am in Pinecrest and she is asking her guests to bring a much-needed item from the Ronald McDonald House Wish List. Schwartzman also will be collecting the items now through October and donations can be made by emailing her at <mitzvahproject@>.

“The Ronald McDonald House needs everything that we use in our homes, but in larger quantities,” Schwartzman said. “Every little bit we collect will help them take care of families in need.”

The Ronald McDonald House of Miami was established in 1982 with the mission to improve the health and well being of children. The 27-bedroom facility is located on the grounds of Jackson Memorial Medical Center. Every year more than 500 families from all over the world stay at this facility while their children receive treatment at area pediatric hospitals.

“The Schwartzman family has gone above and beyond to raise awareness and gather essential items for the Ronald McDonald House,” said Ivan Ubierna, house manager of the Ronald McDonald House in Miami. “We are blessed by their actions and thoughts.”

Griffin said she is honored that Schwartzman has made this worthy cause her mitzvah project.

“The items Jessica collects will really make a difference to a family who is going through a very tough time,” she said. “Until you’re faced with this situation, you may not even realize the wonderful services that the Ronald McDonald House provides. They really deserve and need the community’s support.”

Schwartzman is the daughter of Steven and Susan Schwartzman and is in the dance magnet program at Southwood Middle School. She also trains at Artistic Souls and enjoys contemporary dance and jazz.

“Jessica chose this project to honor a life that was cut short and help an organization that was so important to her family and many other families,” Steven Schwartzman said.

Ronald McDonald House in Miami is located at 1145 NW 14 Terr. and the phone number is 305-325-8369. For more information or to see the complete Wish List, visit

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