Week of August 20, 2008

Laine Weiskopf, B’nai El Congregation

Daughter of Nita and David Weiskopf, Laine is a caring young woman who takes any chance she can to help those who are in need. You may remember hearing or reading about this young lady back in 2002, when she was only in first grade.


After 9/11, Laine initiated a local project to send hand-painted patriotic butterflies to children affected by the events of that day. Realizing she couldn’t do this by herself, she took her idea to her school and they immediately signed on. Eventually, 40 St. Louis-area schools, both public and private, took part in the project which was called The Children’s American Butterfly Project.

Y98 and Charter Communications even picked up the project for their booth at the St. Louis Art Fair that year.

The work helped quiet Laine’s fears that grew out of the attacks and made her feel good to think it might help someone else. Nita says it was “a child’s symbol of innocence, freedom and love of America.” The butterflies were then sent to three schools in New York City, all within eight blocks of the former World Trade Center and schools near the affected sites in Washington D.C. The children, parents and teachers agreed that of all the gifts and attention they received, the butterflies were more special. They knew that a butterfly is the symbol of a new life and of hope.

Today, Laine continues to help others. For her mitzvah project, she volunteered for one year tutoring beginner 3rd and 4th grade virtuosos in the Webster Groves Strings Program. Laine is an accomplished violinist and takes part in the Webster Groves Fine Arts Gifted Program. “It was a wonderful way to give back to a pioneering, educational community that envisioned, fundraised, and executed a plan that would give Laine and all the children of the Webster District an opportunity to excel in musical expression and artistry, free of charge,” said Nita. “Laine could see and appreciate that the old saying was true: ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ Laine also realized that she, even as a child herself, could and indeed should help raise the community village.”

Laine, a student at Hixson Middle School in the Webster Groves School District, also volunteered several times this year at St. Mary’s Health Center. She and a friend spent 3-4 hours each day assembling gift bags for new parents.

If you would like to make a donation in Laine’s honor, she has requested them to be sent to Our Little Haven, a treatment facility which serves the youngest victims of abuse and/or neglect, through intervention.

Early identification and treatment of the issues facing the birth through age ten primary group of children assures a better outcome for these helpless victims, as well as our St. Louis community.

To learn more about Our Little Haven, please visit their Web site at: www.ourlittlehaven.org or contact the executive director, Scott Hummel, at 314-533-2229.