Last Tuesday, May 20th, eighty-one friends and supports of OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services raised a minimum of $1,000 each to rappel 20 stories over the side of the Heritage Capital Group building in Newark, New Jersey. All proceeds will help children with developmental disabilities attend camp.
For such an endeavor, finding a willing partner in a building owner can understandably be a challenge. OHEL was fortunate to find two big hearts in Steve Greenberg and Jeff Greenberg, owners of the Heritage Capital Group, and their staff.
OHEL was blessed with a gorgeous sunny day. Sunburn was the only weather concern.
A large crowd of family, supporters and inquiring minds began to gather early on at the base of the building to watch. Two local police cars kept the controls throughout the day – and even engaged in some humor, jokingly giving one participant a "ticket" for “texting while rappelling.”
As the rapellers started to descend, onlookers cheered and shouted words of encouragement. And as each rappeller cautiously stepped off the ledge of the roof, the crowd broke into raucous applause as they touched down to the safety of the sidewalk after their nerve-wracking 20 story descent.
“That was incredible!” said Dave, a first-time rapeller: “I can’t believe I just did that!” Marc Blumenfrucht, a staunch supporter of OHEL and Board Member of OHEL’s Camp Kaylie, commented after completing his descent, "I used to work in this building, and I could not miss the opportunity to rappel off of it!”
While participants had different motivators to overcome the fear of going over the edge, they all embraced an incredible day of activity to help an incredible organization. Robert Katz, OHEL’s chief development officer, found the match between Over the Edge and OHEL perfectly symbolic. “OHEL helps thousands of people every year overcome their fears and challenges. At this event, we watched people overcome challenges for only 20 minutes. Our clients have challenges 24/7. This was an eye-opening experience.”
“This event took extreme sports to a new level of excitement,” said Laurie Szenicer, OHEL’s senior development coordinator, who organized this event.
Since 1969, OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services has served as a dependable haven of individual and family support, helping people of all ages effectively manage disability, surmount everyday challenges, heal from trauma, and manage with strength and dignity during times of crises.
For more information about how you can get involved with Team OHEL, and participate in their next activity, like a marathon or triathalon, contact Laurie Szenicer or visit www.ohelfamily.org