JCC Mid-Westchester Honors Scarsdale High School Student at Annual Fundraiser

Samantha Friedland

The JCC Mid-Westchester (JCCMW) honored Scarsdale High School student Samantha Friedland, the center’s “Volunteer of the Year,” at its 2022 Spring fundraiser. Ms. Friedland was  recognized for her commitment to the JCCMW’s Sunday Funday offering for special needs children, a program she’s participated in for the past six years. 


Ms. Friedland began volunteering for the JCCMW’s Sunday Funday as part of her Bat Mitzvah social action project but opted to continue after fulfilling her initial obligation. Since then, she’s devoted near every Sunday morning, from September to June, to the program, 144 mornings in total.


“The kids who attend the Sunday Funday program really benefit from coming together and seeing the same volunteers every week,” Ms. Friedland says. “Being there, it feels like you’re making a difference.” 


Ms. Friedland has found additional ways of serving the needs of children in Westchester and beyond. In 2020, she co-created with her classmate Michael Emmerman an outdoor day camp where children could safely socialize amidst the closures resulting from the pandemic. As part of a group project at school, she also launched a program called Buddy Connect that connects teenage volunteers with special needs children based on shared interests. A graduating senior, Ms. Friedland will be attending the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University this Fall. 


“We are so proud of Samantha for all she’s accomplished and her devotion to the children and families who rely on JCCMW volunteers,” said Elise Dowell, CEO of JCCMW. “We look forward to celebrating her at our fundraising event.”


The JCCMW fundraiser, “A Night Under the Stars” took place on Tuesday, May 17th. In addition to Ms. Friedland, the event honored Donna DiFalco, who received the organization’s “Heart and Soul Award” for her 40 years of service to the JCCMW Nursery School.