JCRS was there for Molly Hefetz when she went to college. Double-majoring in Jewish studies and psychology, she says she always felt JCRS had a vested interest in her. “I’ve just been so blessed to have so much help.”
Molly (on the left) with a fellow bridesmaid at a recent wedding.
When Molly Hefetz was just a toddler, her mother was diagnosed with a serious mental disorder. Refusing treatment for her condition and behaving erratically, Molly’s mother gave birth to several children that she couldn’t take care of.
It was then that Molly’s grandparents stepped in and embarked on a difficult and complicated journey. Spending years in the legal system fighting to gain custody of all of their grandchildren, they hoped to provide them with a more stable life.
Fortunately for Molly, her grandparents’ gained custody of her at a young age. Molly says of herself and her siblings, “We all appreciate our grandparents so much more because we know they didn’t have to take us in.” Over the years, there were many transitions as different siblings joined Molly in her grandparents’ home. Even so, Molly feels they all grew closer and stronger because of it. In fact, she says she had a great childhood and has always been a very optimistic person – somehow managing to see the best in everyone and everything – despite her troublesome beginnings. Lucky to have ended up with loving and supportive grandparents as role models, Molly speaks tenderly of the qualities she says they passed down to her – an appreciation for adventure, a love of learning, and the ability to understand people.
Along with the safe haven her grandparents provided came financial concerns. “We didn’t have a lot of money,” Molly says, “and most of my grandmother’s money went to the courts to fight for us.” In fact, it was difficult for Molly’s grandmother to maintain her landscaping business and take care of the children as well, so she eventually had to close its doors.
When Molly was 12 years old, a friend of hers was planning on attending Camp Ramah, and Molly very much wanted to join her. Her grandparents tried to piece the together the financial aid needed to make it happen, and that’s where JCRS came in with summer camp scholarship money. Though she didn’t foresee it at the time, Molly says the seeds of her strong Jewish values were sowed at Ramah. “At a time in your life when you’re just going into adolescence and developing your identity, it made an incredible impact on me. The aid of JCRS helped me get to the point where I could develop that identity.” Taking those experiences home with her, Molly then influenced her grandparents and siblings. While they’d always been involved in the Jewish community, now they’d found new ways to grow – both religiously and spiritually. “JCRS hasn’t just affected my life, but my entire family’s – the way we relate to each other and our Jewish traditions.”
Later, JCRS was there again for Molly when she went to college. Double-majoring in Jewish studies and psychology, she says she always felt JCRS had a vested interest in her. “I’ve just been so blessed to have so much help.”
Now, Molly is enthusiastically pursuing a doctorate in psychology and working with troubled youth in the juvenile justice system. Perhaps it’s no surprise that someone with a tumultuous early childhood, a positive outlook, and a wonderfully loving family has chosen to reach out and help others who desperately need it.
Watch Molly’s 2005 interview below:
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How To Help.
Vulnerable children and youth can grow up to become fulfilled, independent adults through the loving kindness and generous support of people like you. Make a difference in the life of someone like Molly Hefetz, and see how they blossom. Donate today to JCRS, or give to the individual program that inspires you most.