a caring attitude.
bought the cards for that purpose.
Ms. Gartenberg narrowed her fo-
cus after volunteering at the crisis
center. With no prior training, she
sat and listened as people "poured
out their hearts: 'Should I leave my
husband? He beats me."'
She enjoyed the experience be-
cause it was helping people in a
one-to-one situation. But she al-
ways returns to her two loves: chil-
dren and humor.
She uses humor to help children,
and to soften discussions about se-
Her goal is a career in pediatric
medicine, and she illustrates her
love for children with a story from
"When I was 4, I would climb
into my sister's crib to change her
diaper. Then I would have to call
Mitzvah Hero Randi Gartenberg.
for my dad to get me out."
Her career plans call for her to
work with children with chronic ill-
nesses — muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome, cer Society and the Juvenile Diabetes Founda-
neurofibromatosis (a genetic disorder of brain tion.
Older sister Elissa is unit secretary in the
"I've taught kids with disabilities. I hate to emergency room at Botsford Hospital. Younger
call it `hr_ndicap.' Physical disabilities' gives it a sister Lori — now out of the crib — is a pre-law
medical term, rather than a mental term."
student at MSU.
In a year, Ms. Gartenberg will apply to schools
Randi says her parents are her example.
of osteopathic medicine "because of their holis- More than what they do, "it's what they taught
tic approach — physical ailments affect the whole us." Then she lightens the mood with a little hu-
"They're pretty cool," she says of her
But first, she plans to return to Case-West-
em in the fall and put in a year of research in parents. "I think I'll keep them. They're like
genetics in the medical school's pediatrics de- friends to me. It's pretty hard to find parents
who are your friends. I consider myself pretty
"I want to do a little more before dedicating lucky."
She believes that using humor is the best way
four years to medical school," she explains.
Ms. Gartenberg credits her family with her to work through a problem. "Life hands you all
attitude toward helping others. Her father, Sid- kinds of things," she says, "and some are not
ney, who is in the insurance business, is active so good. I think the best way to deal with them
with B'nai B'rith, the Anti-Defamation League is by laughing — just find the humor in the sit-
and Jewish Federation. Her mother, Susan, uation."
Another axiom she uses has helped her assist
teaches at Southfield's Congregation Shaarey
Zedek Beth Hayeled nursery school.
many others during her lifetime:
"When you give to somebody else, you're giv-
Ms. Gartenberg remembers her mother plan-
ning fund-raising dances at Oak Park High ing to yourself. You make two people feel good
School to benefit the Salk polio vaccine, and go- at the same time. That's a feeling you can't re-
ing door-to-door to collect for the American Can- ally top." 0