Ahava Greenbaum is an impressive young lady. The 14-year-old Hollywood resident has completed over 600 volunteer hours in the last year working with a variety organizations and throughout her last school year at special events.
Over the last 2 years, Greenbaum has volunteered as a counselor for local summer and winter camps and has pioneered the first Wheels & Waves event with her mom and basketball coach to raise awareness and funding for special needs kids. They’ve partnered with the Special Olympics doing swim competitions, and simultaneously helped create awareness for spinal cord injuries with wheelchair basketball tournaments.
Presently, Greenbaum is in 9th Grade at David Posnack Paul & Maggie Fischer High School where she plays basketball on a traveling girls’ team called ‘Mo Steel’, a Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center basketball program for highly-skilled athletes who are selected by invitation or a series of try-outs done at the beginning of the training season.
“When Coach Jeff Fogel nominated me for a basketball scholarship from the Marc Sutton “Player for Life” Scholarship Fund to play on Mo-Steel, I was very moved,” shares Greenbaum. The scholarship’s namesake, Marc Sutton passed away when he was 9 years old and was a preschool friend of Greenbaum’s.
It was shortly after Greenbaum was nominated that she discovered Fogel had Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) a.k.a. Lou Gehrig’s Disease, resulting in his inability to use his arms and legs.
Regardless of ‘Coach Jeff’ not having the use of his arms or legs and being confined to a wheelchair, he coached Mo Steel to winning championships. Greenbaum credits her chance to play basketball and become a key player on the team to Coach Jeff’s belief in her.
“Coach Jeff inspired me to pursue my dreams, so as a way to give back, I wanted to do something to make a difference for others,” shares Greenbaum. “So, from my love of sports, music and special needs people, my mom and I created the “Points 4 Love” (P4L) song and music video to help create awareness and funding for charity.” Funds raised from the video will be used to support medical fees and sports scholarships.
Coach Jeff Fogel (center) and Jeremie Phenom Thomas (right)
About the video and project: “Points 4 Love”
P4L music video graphic
The idea of the Points 4 Love video originated with every point that the Miami Heat basketball team score in their season, the Mo Steel girls basketball team would give community service hours to charity. “The message is to rise above life’s challenges and to make a Point 4 being an example of Love in all situations,” explains Greenbaum.
The video features 25-year-old singer Jeremie-Phenom Thomas, a wheelchair basketball player. Reiter and Greenbaum met Thomas during their Wheels & Waves event which combined swim competitions for kids with special needs and wheelchair basketball tournaments, to raise money for charity.
Thomas was born with spina bifida and plays for the Miami Heat Wheels team that recently won the National Wheelchair Basketball Championships. Thomas’s passion is to produce meaningful music as well as to acquire the necessary sports equipment and athletic scholarships for wheelchair basketball teams.
(L to R) FRONT ROW: Ahava Greenbaum, Miriam Goldsmith, Jeremy Thomas BACK ROW: Mo Steel teammates and Ahava’s mom, Susanne Greenbaum (far right)
Seven-year-old Hollywood resident and cancer survivor, Miriam Goldsmith was also featured in the video. Diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in 2012 found to be non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Goldsmith lost her ability to walk after its removal.
Miami Heat Wheels
The apple doesn’t fall far…
Greenbaum’s mother Susanne Reiter, a Hollywood resident for over 20 years, is also big into giving back and community service.
Reiter has volunteered with many organizations over the years including over six different departments at the Hollywood Police station. She’s been a Cert Team Leader for the Hollywood Fire Department; a pro-bono photographer and donation collector for JAFCO (a center for abused and abandoned children in South Florida); and has fostered over 500 animals with the Broward County Humane Society.
Currently a mentor for Take Stock in Children, she’s personally mentored eight teens in Broward County middle and high schools for over nine years.
“Since there is order in how the universe works,” muses Reiter, “I’m up for the challenge of coordinating any type of project or event which includes any celebration, corporate project, bringing order to disorderly spaces, moving, renovation, interior design tasks, fundraisers, and much more.”
How to get involved
The final edited version of Points4Love music video has been completed and the team is moving forward to release the full version on iTunes and Vimeo in the next few weeks. They are currently seeking a volunteer social media manager to help spread the word. They are also looking for connections to get support from the Miami Heat corporate office in hopes of having the video and song performed live at the Miami Heat game playoffs.
“With your help Coach Jeff, Miriam, Jeremie and many others will become success stories,” she says. If you would like join Ahava and her mom’s quest to make a difference please visit their campaign at GoFundMe. You can also like and share their Facebook page that will give updates about their progress, their road to recovery, fundraising events and more.
For more information, call 954-947-1019 or email: [email protected]