Palmetto High School senior Beza Maya Singer spent a couple of years at a boarding school in Pennsylvania before moving back to Miami and enrolling at Palmetto.
Since she’s been back, she has volunteered at a summer camp at Beth Am as a counselor-in-training. The next year as a paid junior counselor.
“I worked with two senior counselors,” she says. “They were teachers but they worked in the camp.”
For seven weeks she hung out and played with the four-year-olds and took them to their activities.
“They would go to art class, they have a water zone, a slide, music, water time, art time, they’d play dress up,” she says. “I would have fun and play with them. I loved it.”
During the school year, Singer volunteered at Achieve Miami until COVID-19 shut things down.
“I went every other Saturday,” she says. “If I couldn’t make it on a Saturday, I felt that I missed a lot. I went a lot.”
As an Achieve Miami volunteer, she worked fairly consistently with the same fourth grade girl.
“Every time I would come, she would choose me,” Singer says. “She preferred the picture books. I challenged her to try the chapter books, like Junie B Jones.”
Singer says the child made great strides in her reading.
“I did see that major, especially the next Saturday and she learned a new word, and if she messed up, she would fix it,” Singer says. “She would read and lead with her finger and not lose track.”
Sometimes the children would talk to her about what was going on in their lives. One talked about her life in foster care.
“I’m adopted,” she says. “I kind of connect to the kids.”
In fact, Singer was adopted at age four from Ethiopia. She the youngest child in a family with six children. She and an older brother are adopted.
“I’ve traveled a lot,” she says. “I went to different schools. I went to boarding school.”
She volunteered at the 300-girl boarding school to help the environment.
“Me and the science teacher, we would go around and collect the trash and clean-up,” she says. “We’d collect the recyclables and trash. We would separate it.”
Here in Miami she has volunteered at Rosemont, a school that specializes in helping children on the spectrum.
“My mom is a child neurologist,” she says. “I have a better understanding of kids who are on the spectrum.”
At Palmetto, Singer is on the student senate, on the committee for teacher appreciation.
She was raring to go back to school because she finds remote learning harder.
For college, Singer wants to attend Occidental in Los Angeles. She’s also looking at the University of Florida, Florida State University and Florida Gulf Coast.
Her plan is to earn a Bachelor of Arts. For a career, Singer wants to become an actor.
“People have told me I’m funny,’ she says. “I’d love to do SNL. That is my dream job.”
She took a drama class at her boarding school. She also plays the viola and was in the Greater Miami Youth Symphony while in elementary and middle school.
She also takes Honors Art classes.
“I love line designs,” she says. “I like being creative.”
This past summer she learned hand embroidery and she loves to cook and bake.
She spent some time in North Carolina where she volunteered at a retirement home. She learned to sew and helped one of the residents sew pillow cases and played card games.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld