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Neila Goldwyn dedicated her Bat Mitzvah to helping animals in need


*six-two 35 under 35 changemaker of 2018 – animal welfare category

Traditionally, a Bat Mitzvah celebrates the time in a Jewish girl’s life where she becomes a woman, marked by the ceremonial reading of sections of the Torah and receiving gifts from friends and family. But for Neila Goldwyn, her Bat Mitzvah took a very alternative route…

Nominated by Aliya Jasmine, our animal welfare judge for six-two’s 35 under 35 initiative, 13-year-old Neila Goldwyn’s adoration for animals is undeniable, and she’s got the dedication to prove it. Aside from her Torah portion coincidentally being the Noah’s Ark story, she toyed with the idea of asking guests to make donations for animal shelters and the Kramer Foundation – a nonprofit organisation dedicated to animal rights. 

Assisted by the Southern Tier Running Club, Neila created a one-mile charity race with all the proceeds going to the Kramer Foundation. Attendees could run or walk Neila’s race, which was adorably dubbed the “Smile Mile”. Neila (quite rightly) believes that animals should be treated like humans, and strives to see the end of unfair treatment towards them, and to use exercise as a fundraising medium shows you’re never too young to be ambitious.

Neila, a young girl, marvels at a table full of gifts.

The Kramer Foundation is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to the fostering, rehabilitating and re-homing of precious pups that would otherwise be put down for behavioural issues. With a young trailblazer like Neila as an ambassador for their good work, it’s a match made in heaven.

What’s the future vision of this animal rights advocate? Despite her age, Neila is already looking to create a nonprofit organisation where she sells dog treats and ensures all profits go to foundations that help dogs in need. Neila is one to watch…

To learn more about the six-two 35 under 35 changemakers of 2018 initiative, and to see who else made our list, head here.