Nitzana (calls herself Neeblet), is a four year old Santa Cruz resident that has the heart and compassion of someone ten times her age. Recently Nitzana came to Hospice of Santa Cruz County’s Mary and Richard Solari Center for Compassionate Care in Scotts Valley with a personal donation of $13.10 to help comfort hospice patients. Her donation was accompanied by a small selection of toiletries that she personally purchased for a patient in need of comfort and love.
Nitzana’s “giving passion” was instilled in her and her siblings by parents Myriam and Mike Cohen. Mike Cohen told us that during the year, his three daughters Hadassah, Nitzana and Ziva contribute money that is earned, found or gifted to them as a way to give back to the community. Mom, Myriam tells us that the discussion of who the recipients will be at the end of the year is a very serious and involved process. The girls are educated about the different non-profit organizations that offer services that better the community such as feeding the hungry, caring for the dying, and housing stray animals.
The Cohens believe that pre-school children have much time to learn the art of giving back to the community and they have found that it is difficult to find activities that pre-school children can participate in to encourage the principle of giving. The Cohens have created opportunities for the girls to experience the joy of giving by reaching out to neighbors in need and offering time to Alzheimer patients that enjoy a conversation with a loving child. Family field trips are also encouraged to the local animal shelter where the girls bring clean blankets for the animals.
Little Nitzana was probably expecting to meet a patient when she visited our administrative offices not realizing we care for patients in their homes and residential facilities. When the Hospice receptionist witnessed Nitzana’s giving heart, she and her family were invited to view a memorial table that honors patients who have passed. As the family looked at the newspaper clippings and memorial candles honoring loved ones, Nitzana’s older sister, Hadassah, recognized a member of the community who had died and then it all became real and personal to the girls. In that moment little Nitzana’s special donation became a very meaningful and satisfying experience for a child with a big heart.
Thank you Cohen family for reminding us of the importance and joy of giving back! And thank you Nitzana for a very big life lesson taught by a very little girl!