Samantha Mishkin, Congregation Shaare Emeth

Samantha Mishkin, second from left, works with friends at Rainbow Village

Rainbow Village is a very special organization to Samantha and her family. Co-founded in 1967 by her late great-aunt Marlene (Jebe) Kopman, Samantha, daughter of Joanne and Jeff Mishkin of University City, chose to support it for her mitzvah project.

A non-profit organization, Rainbow Village provides safe, comfortable, and affordable homes in the St. Louis metro area for people with developmental disabilities. Working collaboratively with others, the village currently houses more than 240 people in 54-plus homes. Its goal is to allow residents to live in the community, be part of a neighborhood, and enjoy their lives to the fullest.

In prior years, Shaare Emeth included landscaping the gardens at Rainbow Village as one of its Mitzvah Day projects. Since it was not part of Mitzvah Day this year, Samantha decided to step in and make it her own project because she knew it would make a huge impact on the lives of the Rainbow Village “families.” With the help of her family and three of her close friends, they spent over three hours doing yard work and planting flowers for six houses. One of Samantha’s friends remarked that the project was “life changing.” “We planted flowers and in the end, everything looked stunning,” said Samantha. She has decided to continue landscaping on her own at Rainbow Village next spring.

A student at MICDS, Samantha also stuffed envelopes for Rainbow Village’s annual fundraiser. “Stuffing envelopes and gardening and landscaping did not feel like work to me,” she said “Seeing the gratefulness from everyone and the joy just from planting flowers put a smile on my face. It made it all the more special that this project took place at Rainbow Village, the non-profit organization that I have grown up with. I am so excited to do it again. It made me feel so, good.”

Samantha’s great-aunt Marlene co-founded Rainbow Village because her adopted son was developmentally disabled. She wanted a residential option instead of institutionalizing him. Rainbow Village is the only nonprofit in the St. Louis area that focuses solely on providing long-term, affordable, quality homes for people with developmental disabilities.

If you would like additional information about Rainbow Village or would like to make a donation in Samantha’s honor, please visit their web site at