Ryan Feinstein has been helping others since before he can really remember, but most recently, he has his sights set on raising money to help NorthShore Glenbrook Hospital in Glenview buy a new ventilator.
The 12-year-old says he had originally planned to help at a local senior center for his Bar Mitzvah project, but the pandemic changed everything. After hearing about the urgent need for ventilators on TV at the beginning of the pandemic, he decided that’s what he’d like to do.
In addition to collecting donations, he’s selling his Smiles Shine through Masks signs for $12 each. He’s on his way to surpassing his $2,500 goal.
“I love to see people’s reactions when they get delivered,” Ryan, of Northbrook, says about the signs. Those with Ring doorbells even get a funny little dance with each sign delivery from the theater-loving tween. His brother, Bradley, 11, also helps with deliveries.
The Maple Middle School student, who loves playing the guitar and riding his bike, volunteers about once a month for local causes, including Feed My Starving Children, local food pantries, Ronald McDonald House and Bernie’s Book Bank. But he was eager to create a charity project all on his own, says mom Amy Feinstein.
She describes Ryan as kind and empathetic. “That’s all that I wish for my kids, to be kind and help the world in whatever way they can and be happy. He does all of that,” she says.
Ryan’s Bar Mitzvah is set for Aug. 29, but the family is looking at alternate dates in case it needs to be rescheduled due to the coronavirus restrictions.
His best advice to other kids: “Try and be you.”
To help, visit foundation.northshore.org.
Follow Chicago Parent on Instagram.