Category: Story of the Month

Story of the Month-The Tzedakah Box


Adriane grew up hearing many stories about her Depression-era grandmother. One such story involved a fence, a bowl of soup and some dignity. Unemployed men would knock on her Nana’s door offering to do odd jobs in exchange for a meal. Nana had a fence that needed fixing. The fence was mended, a bowl of soup and bread were offered and then gratefully consumed. When the man was out of sight and well down the street, Nana went to the yard and kicked in the fence again. And the story was replayed over and over with another knock on the door, another man to feed and another bowl of soup. Now as a parent herself, Adriane and her husband wanted to model the tandem ideals of charity AND dignity for their daughter. They decided to include a Tzedakah box in their home. Drawing upon traditions grounded in her Jewish roots, Adriane’s family has been using the Tzedakah box since Anna was a young child. When the box is full, they decide on where to make a charitable gift. They do this several times a year. As Anna grew older, she became part of the decision making, too.  Last month after having done a bit of community research, Adriane, Mark and Anna agreed to donate the Tzedakah money to Young & Healthy. We are honored their family would choose Young & Healthy to extend their reach of charity and dignity. Gifts come to Young & Healthy in so many forms–but this is our first Tzedakah box donation. (Google it, it’s pretty cool!)



I am always amazed (and impressed) by the kids who, in spite of the odds against them, rise up and face each day with optimism.

You’ve all seen a little one with a patch on one eye. Patrick needed one when he was little, but he lacked access to health care and now he has very limited vision in one eye.

At 17, he (yes HE) developed a breast mass. Imagine having Young & Healthy send you to a BREAST CENTER for diagnostic work. With all the grace in the world, he showed up, had a mammogram and luckily found out he DID NOT have cancer.

Oh–did I mention, his mom has cancer and can rarely leave the house.

So, what does Patrick when he needs to pick up the medication to shrink the breast mass? He rides his skate board several miles to one of our volunteer pharmacies of course!

This young man has something we all want–persistent optimism! It is an honor to know him!

Such An Easy Fix!

A Pasadena teacher contacted Families in Transition, a support program for homeless children in our school district. In addition to all the complications of being a homeless 5th grader, Albert had a toothache. One call to Young & Healthy and we were able to get him a dental appointment the same day we received his referral. The doctor was able to quickly fill the offending cavity and send him on his way. The teacher called the next day and said, “I can finally see his smile”.

Such an easy fix–when you link exactly the right two people together. There are still lots of issues for this family to deal with but Albert’s toothache isn’t one of them anymore.

A New Twist On Yard Sales

I’ve had yard sales and taught my kids about redeeming cans and bottles…to teach them the value of work, earning money and how to save for something you really want.

Their health never entered into the equation.

Not for Rosalee. Rosalee works full time and knows without a doubt that her son needs health insurance. He has epilepsy. When his monthly premiums grew to $1,000 a month, she began selling off possessions to pay the premiums. A toaster here, an old T.V. there, her clothes, old teddy bears, anything she could sell to raise the money.

Desperate, she went to a school nurse and said, “I have nothing left to sell.” Her son’s insurance had lapsed and he needed his seizure medication.

One call to Young & Healthy and one call to a volunteer neurologist–like magic her life changed. He was assessed and quickly taken care of. A volunteer pharmacist donated his medication. This young man will be a short-term client for us.

The second call was to an insurance specialist who explained that, because of a change in the law, pre-existing conditions for children were no longer “counted” when applying for insurance.

Rosalee has applied for new low-cost insurance that she can afford for her son, with no yard sales necessary.

We’ll take care of her son until the new insurance “kicks in”, and Rosalee will be BACK on her way to being the self-sufficient and resourceful mother that she’s always been.

Kaylie, Young & Healthy’s Youngest client

At only 13 hours old, Kaylie takes the prize as Young & Healthy’s youngest client ever!

Kaylie was born at home. She was taken to her pediatrician’s office to be examined. Everything seemed to be going well until her pediatrician noticed that Kaylie seemed to have hip dysplasia. The doctor told Kaylie’s parents that she was going to refer their baby to a pediatric orthopedist. Kaylie’s parents informed the pediatrician that their insurance only covered well baby visits.

Luckily, the pediatrician is a Young & Healthy volunteer and called us right away.

Our case managers were ablt to connect the family with Shriner’s Hospital for Children. Thankfully, Kaylie’s condition is one that is easily remedied. She will continue to receive follow up care and is well on her way to being a normal, happy and active infant!