Looking at Ben Lewinter, you might not realize how remarkable he is. However, this 17-year-old high school senior at the Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School in Livingston just did something incredible. He spearheaded a charity run called 4K 4Kids which benefitted four charities: Chai Lifeline, Yachad, and The Koby Mandell Foudation, and Kushner’s Kupat Beit Sifri which supports struggling families in the school community.
The 4K 4Kids is a special event because it was completely run by kids while it supports kids. Although the race had been run last year under different leadership and raised $4,500, Ben and his committee of six students had a much larger vision when they started working on the run back in November.
They solicited corporate sponsorship, gaining the support of companies. including Care One, BestRentNJ.com, Hard Knocks, Lewinter Wealth Advisors LLC, and JAG Physical Therapy.
The committee also worked to get police coordination to ensure the safety of the runners who would be traveling on CIT Drive and Peachtree Hill Road.
Lastly, they set a goal of $25,000, more than five times the amount they raised last year.
On the drizzly morning of May 23, Ben led the starting 350 runners from the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy and Rae Kushner Yeshiva High Schools on the start of their run.
Far from being daunted by the rain, some students declared the weather “refreshing” while others exclaimed “this is fun!” Most of the kids ran with their friends, others ran alone, but the energy generated by hundreds of students working toward a common goal was almost palpable.
By day’s end, virtually all of the students from the Lower, Middle, and High schools had participated in some way. Even the preschool and kindergarten classes contributed, cheering “Go, people go!” as they handed out water to runners.
Among the participants was Rabbi Eliezer Rubin, Principal of the Lower and High Schools, who had trained for the event for six weeks. As he stretched and prepared to run with the student body, he beamed with pride. “I’m proud of the students for recognizing their responsibility to the community and the power of unity," he said.
As for the goal of raising $25,000, by the start of the race, it had been broken. “The real amazing part was the school,” said Ben, who worked with the entire student body at JKHA/RKYHS to make a difference in the community.