Mitchell Rosenberg, 15, is all about taking breaks and its many benefits, no matter what situation he is in.
Rosenberg’s dad was diagnosed with throat cancer three years ago. He is now in remission but the teen remembers the experience like it was yesterday.
“People don’t realize that with a sick parent laying at home, the kids are probably doing the same thing, too, because they have nowhere to go,” said the sophomore at Calabasas High School.
The experience compelled Rosenberg to start his own foundation, Give Me a Break Foundation.
The foundation was inspired by his older sister Lynne’s involvement with Camp Kasem, a free summer camp for children whose parents have cancer.
“It was an eye-opener for me, hearing about my sister’s experience at the camp,” he said. “It really touched very close to home.”
With his big sister’s guidance, the teen established the foundation in September, to do just that–give kids a break from their stressful, cancer-centered lives.
Cancer can give a weird tone to people’s lives, pausing it for a bit, said Rosenberg.
While the usual organizational “birth pains” are there, Rosenberg feels they are on the right track.
“We are working with hospitals, oncologists and other local non-profits, including the Talbert Family Foundation and WeSpark.org, to get the word out and find families who might need our help,” he said.
“With the summer camp, we took them away from the cancer environment for a week and immersed them in sports, arts and crafts, etc., anything to take their minds off of cancer,” said Lynne, a junior at UC Berkeley. “With the foundation, it’s an ongoing commitment and involvement in activities and events, not just a week."
Like Camp Kasem, Rosenberg plans to raise funds all year long to finance the foundation’s year-round activities, including lunches, movie nights, zoo trips and various local outings.
A recent fundraiser at Maria’s Italian Kitchen in Woodland Hills brought in $1,200 and a barrage of supporters and future volunteers.
“It’s a good start,” said Jordan Eisner, foundation vice-president and a good friend of Rosenberg.
The duo also plan to approach local businesses and organizations to donate movie tickets, venue use and other services. Talks with theme parks and amusement centers are also ongoing.
Eisner, 15, also a sophomore at Calabasas High School, will assist Rosenberg who is president and founder, in various capacities, including fundraising and event planning.
“Even if cancer has not touched my family directly, I really believe in the cause," said Eisner. "That’s what got me on board.”
For Rosenberg who has experienced cancer in the family first-hand, the desire to help propels him to keep moving forward with this undertaking.
“I was in their position before so I really want to help," he said, "so children and teens like me can still have the childhood they deserve.”
For more information, to make a donation or to volunteer, click here.