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May 13, 1988 - Image 60

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-05-13

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

MITZVAH PEOPLE

Some of NCRW's leading ladies take a breather after helping at the recent Seder for the mentally impaired at the
Jewish Center.

Aid & Comfort

Alice Lutz, left, and President Ruth Hirshfield joined
the ranks of volunteers at the Seder.

RUTHAN BRODSKY

Special to The Jewish News

or the past 39 years, a
group of women here have
been quietly raising mon-
and distributing it to
charitable causes.
Known as the Northwest Child
Rescue Women, the principal purpose
of the 125-member organization is to
help retarded Jewish children and
developmentally impaired young
adults in the Detroit area.
It's difficult to determine exactly
what it is, but those who come in con-
tact with the Northwest Child Rescue
agree there is something unique
about the group as a charitable
organization. Perhaps it is the ge-
nuine friendship that exists between
the members, a camaraderie that en-
compasses a great deal of compassion
and loyalty.
Clara Krueger is a case in point.
Krueger, public relations chairman of
the group, left Wisconsin in 1963 and
settled in Southfield. At the recom-
mendation of a friend, she began at-
tending meetings of the Northwest
Child Rescue.
"I related to their purpose right
away because I knew someone who
had a mentally retarded child:' she
said. "I joined Northwest Child
Rescue, made a lot of friends, and
have managed to keep those friend-
ships?'
Most members of the organization
are in their late 50s and mid-60s —

60

FRIDAY, MAY 13, 1988

another feature which contributes to
the uniqueness of the group.
When Northwest Child Rescue
was first organized, all the women liv-
ed near each other in northwest
Detroit — ergo the name. And they
were more or less in the same stage
of their adult life — young wives just
starting to raise families.
"Our membership numbered
about 40 then and maybe half of us
were active:' recalled Ann Kasoff,
former president of the group and one
of its original members. "We would
hold special events, such as our an-
niversary parties, in our homes.
Everyone pitched in and baked and
cooked and took turns making sure
the kids didn't get into any trouble
while we worked:'
The group first formed as a
chapter of Mizrachi Women and all its
funds went for the rehabilitation of
children in Israel. Then a separate
organization, seeking to care for
Jewish children in the Detroit area,
was formed.
Yet the splinter group did not
abandon its support of Mizrachi,
Kasoff said. "We gave half of our
money to Mizrachi and half to help
the retarded Jewish children in
Detroit. The fact is, we never stopped
giving to Mizrachi. It's always been
a part of us?'
So, too, is the determination and
innovation that has marked Nor-
thwest Child Rescue since it first
began.
For example, it was the first group

Bob McKeown

For nearly 40 years the Northwest
Child Rescue Women have been
helping the less fortunate

Carole Kaftan, standing, checks to see if everything is all right with clients, from left: Seth
Rosenberg, Bobby Sipher and Jacob Feldman.

in the United States to have a camp
program for retarded children.
Established in 1953 at Fresh Air
Camp in Brighton, together with the
sponsorship of the Detroit Parks and
Recreation, the camp was open to
mentally impaired youth of all
denominations.
According to Dorothy Cole, former
president of Northwest Child Rescue,
the group has donated more than
$80,000 to the camp. Because of its
tremendous success, however, private
foundations and other funding
sources now provide the bulk of the
camp's budget. Over the past several
years, "we've simply been asked to fill
the budget gaps rather than provide
the major funding' Cole explained.
Funding of another sort — name-
ly that generated by membership
drives — do not interest Northwest
Child Rescue. There are no member-
ship drives; there never have been.
Fay Ziegler, first vice president
and former president of the organiza-
tion, said that membership is open to
anyone interested in the group's agen-

da, and who is willing to give of
herself, not just her dollars.
"We're not interested in dues-
paying members;' Ziegler said. "We
want women who will put in their
time?'
At one point, members of Nor-
thwest Child Rescue tried to interest
their daughters in joining the group
to which they had become so
dedicated.
"But they wanted nothing to do
with their mothers," Cole said. "I us-
ed to bring my children to camp and
to special activities. The young
women were interested in what we
wanted to do, but they weren't in-
terested in how we did it. So they
formed their own group: the Nor-
thwest Child Rescue Women Junior
League?'
More than 75 women belong to
the Junior League. Because many of
its members are working and quite a
few have returned to school, however,
its percentage of active workers is a
bit smaller than that of the Senior
League. Nonetheless, the Junior

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