Last year, Gulliver Prep senior Remi Beek started a charity. It’s called Dance Chai and she created the charity to raise money for Chai Lifeline. In Hebrew, chai means life.
Chai Lifeline is an organization that sends seriously ill children to summer camp so that the kids can enjoy the activities and still have treatments.
Beek has been supporting Chai Lifeline for a long time. Her parents told her about the organization. When she was 13years old, she asked everyone coming to her Bat Mitzvah to donate to the organization in lieu of giving her a gift.
For her charity, she worked with a favorite dance instructor at Body and Soul Fitness in Coral Gables to put on a dance workout class. The dance workout was quite successful, pulling in $10,000. Overall, she has raised approximately $40,000 for Chai Lifeline.
“About 100 people attended the class,” she says. “You didn’t have to pay to attend. We encouraged a donation, but the cost itself was free.”
Beek promoted the class on social media and informed teachers about the class, so they allowed her to put up flyers in their classrooms. The next dance workout class is Nov. 9 and information about the event may be found at www.Dancechai.com.
At Gulliver, Beek is president of Interact. The service club does a lot of fundraising and then they donate the money to other organizations.
Two major service projects the club is involved with is visiting Alzheimer’s patients at a facility run by Easter Seals and feeding the homeless at the Chapman Partnership for the Homeless. When they go to the homeless shelter, they not only feed those who are living there, they also entertain the children.
Beek says she enjoys going to the Alzheimer’s day-care program to visit the seniors.
“I think it’s a great opportunity and I like listening to the stories they tell,” she says. “You don’t always get this opportunity. It opens your perspective on the world.”
Interact coordinates a fashion show each spring that raises thousands of dollars. They also host a soccer tournament that is a fundraiser.
Beek is also in the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta and the Art Honor Society. She’s in the International Baccalaureate program and the Teach For America project. Gulliver students are paired with children from Holmes Elementary School to help them with their reading.
“I love it, I love working with kids,” Beek says. “It’s nice listening to them and nice to know that we can make a difference watching them read.”
Beek hasn’t decided on a major course of study that she will pursue in college. She is considering biology and psychology with the possibility of including art and painting. She is considering sending applications to Tulane, Brandeis and Washington University in St. Louis.
Art is important to Beek and she enjoys painting and drawing. She likes using oils, although she has also worked with acrylics and water color. She says that she likes painting portraits.
Last summer, she attended the Alexander Muss High School program in Israel.
“That was an amazing experience,” she says.
She remembers one moment on Masada. They stopped just as the sun was going to set and the students spread out around the desert.
“We each had an individual moment to reflect on the trip,” she says. “I could see the water, but mostly the sand. It was a great moment for me.”
By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld