On July 22, five Engage volunteers spent an afternoon at camp. But this wasn’t a trip down memory lane--they were at Sunrise Day Camp, the world’s first summer day camp for children with cancer and their siblings. Sunrise is provided free to campers and is part of the Friedberg JCC, a UJA-Federation beneficiary agency, and is located on the Henry Kaufman Campgrounds in Wheatley Heights, Long Island.

The camp is 10 years old and also has a location in Pearl River, NY. It serves families in the five boroughs as well as Long Island and Westchester. On this lovely July day, the Engage team spent the afternoon at the Long Island location, bringing smiles to the kids there by manning booths at the camp’s carnival day.

When the Engage team arrived, they toured the camp, replete with a pool, playhouse, two air-conditioned areas for cooler indoor play, and other fabulous offerings. The group then manned booths of ring toss, a bean bag throw, and other activities while kids enjoyed snow cones and cotton candy. Our volunteers felt great about bringing fun to the lives of these kids, who generally have no semblance of a normal life.

“It’s all about making kids feel normal,” said Margie Stern, one of the volunteers, who also works with another Sunrise program, Sunrise on Wheels at Mt. Sinai Hospital, which brings smiles to children like these year-round through various camplike programs and in-hospital services.

To learn more about Engage volunteer opportunities with Sunrise programs, please contact Rabbi Brian Fink at or 646.505.4408.