When he was preparing for his bar mitzvah, Gulliver Prep senior Will Poses joined forces with two friends who also needed to do mitzvah projects and they created the organization WEE Give Back. WEE stands for Will, Evan Mendelson and Ethan Gale.
“We wanted to team together for the mitzvah project,” he says. “We wanted to do a basketball tournament and we had talked about it before so we put it all together.”
The three have been best friends almost since birth so it was natural that they combine forces for their project. That mitzvah year they organized a three-on-three basketball tournament and donated the proceeds to the Jewish Adoption and Family Options, known as JAFCO.
That first tournament was only the start of their charitable efforts. They have organized the tournament each year since then, raising approximately $33,000 total from all the events.
“Because I went Ransom and Gulliver and they go to Miami Country Day, we were able to bring in a lot of friends and athletes to play,” he says. “Kids come back year after year and look forward to playing.”
When they were in ninth grade, they learned that a coach they all loved was diagnosed with ALS. That year, the money they raised was donated to ALS. Their tenth-grade year they raised money for JAFCO again.
Last school year they moved the tournament to Miami Country Day School and raised $12,000, which was donated to Pink Angels at Memorial Hospital because Gale’s mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.
The next tournament will be in 2019, near the end of the school year.
While Poses is likely to go away to college, that doesn’t mean that WEE Give Back will end.
“Ethan and Evan have two younger brothers who are the same age and they are best friends,” Poses says. “They’ve been helpful. I can see them taking over.”
At Gulliver, Poses is the quarterback of the football team. This year’s team had a good season and qualified for the playoffs after a huge game Nov. 2.
The game was not only the season ender, but it was also Homecoming and the Senior Game. Poses had a big game, throwing for 341 yards and four touchdowns.
At this point, Poses hasn’t decided whether he’ll play football in college.
“I’m trying for football first and will look at the other options later,” he says.
If he does play at a Division I school, he’d start out as a preferred walk-on.
“I’m looking at Division I as a preferred,” he says. “They want you on the team without giving you a scholarship.”
He’s also considering Division II and III universities.
Poses is still assessing what he wants to do when he graduates from college. While he’s considering his options, he’s likely to major in economics.
When football season ends, Poses will have more time for extracurricular activities. After the season and playoffs, he’ll be able to participate in clubs such as the Stars Wars Club.
“People dress up as Star Wars characters and go to hospitals,” he says.
Last year, when he was able to participate, he dressed as Darth Vader. He was only able to go once because he tore his ACL and needed to concentrate on rehabbing his knee.
“It was at the end of last year,” he says. “It was at the beginning of the Homecoming game.”
He came back strong from that injury, after going to rehab three to five times a week.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld