Bat Mitzvah Leads to Making a Difference for Zoe Flatt

Zoe Flatt gives the gift of man’s best friends to those in need


L to R: Zoe hands her donation to Sara Gabriel, Executive Director of Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind; Zoe celebrates with her family and fellow teen philanthropist, Samara Bell, at her B'nai Tzedek L'chaim

By Jody Kamen-- No stranger to the ideals of tzedakah and tikkun olam, Zoe opened a Tzedakah Fund through the Jewish Foundation’s B’nai Tzedek Teen Philanthropy program in celebration of becoming bat mitzvah. She asked guests to contribute to her fund in lieu of traditional gifts, knowing that she wanted to take this opportunity to help others. “I realize how lucky I am to grow up with good health, a supportive and loving family, and the ability to pursue my dreams. I know that everybody is not as fortunate as I am.”

“I wanted to find a cause where I could incorporate my love for animals and helping humans,” confirmed Zoe, who hopes to be a veterinarian when she grows up.

Zoe decided to use some of the funds she received to support the Israel Guide Center for the Blind, among other charities in Canada and in Israel, all of which focus on the power of animals to support people with special needs. Zoe is really fascinated by the capacity with which animals can enrich the lives of people with special needs, by enabling them to be more mobile and live independently.

Zoe has seen firsthand the power of teen philanthropy and how good it feels to make a difference by the example set by her older siblings, Noah and Sydney. They both demonstrated the responsibility we have to one another as Jews, by making meaningful gifts at their bar and bat mitzvahs, and by continuing to make distributions to charities each year from the interest earned on their Tzedakah Funds.

Giving starts at home, often passed from grandparents to parents, and from parents to their kids. At Zoe’s B’nai Tzedek l’chaim, dad, Joel, revealed to his kids that he too had collected funds for charity at the time of his bar mitzvah. Joel continued to say, “I am proud of Zoe’s amazing generosity and hope that she continues to care for those in need.” Each year, Zoe will make have the opportunity to make distributions from her Tzedakah Fund to support the needs of animals or humans — maybe both — at the charities of her choice!

Zoe’s gift goes to show that you are never too young to make a difference. Mazel Tov Zoe!