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On the Job: Volunteer Crossing Guard and Shabbos Party Coordinator

C.B. Gavant

In Montreal, Canada, many girls in Bais Yaakov D’Rav Hirschprung walk to school each day. On Sunday mornings, the crossing guard provided by the government isn’t there. Enter Mr. Reuven Stein, who volunteers his services every single Sunday — rain, shine, or Canadian snow.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

crossing the streetMJ: Hi, Mr. Stein. How did you get started in the crossing guard business?

RS: I started 15 years ago, when my oldest daughter, who’s now 20, was five. I used to walk her to school each day, and just for fun I made a flimsy red stop sign that accompanied us each week. If other girls reached the corner when we did, I’d cross them, too. On my way home, I still had the stop sign in my hand, so I’d cross more girls who were just arriving.

After a few months of this, I noticed that many young girls were crossing the streets by themselves, and I felt it wasn’t safe. I decided to go early, before my daughter left for school, and stay until all the girls had crossed. This lasted for about a year. The parents were very grateful.

The following year, one of the administrators asked if I would do it for real — she’d get me a real stop sign and an official neon suit. I said, “Sure, why not?” I’ve been doing it ever since.

MJ: How long do you stay on your post each week?

RS: School starts at 9, so I try to get to my corner by 8:30. I stay until 9. Since the girls only have a half-day on Sunday, they come home at 12:30. I’m there for the return trip from 12:30 to 1.

Several years ago, I started making up parshah poems to make the crossing more exciting. I prepare two poems, one for the younger kids and one for the older ones. I tell the girls my poems as I cross them. I now have parents who walk their kids to school just to hear my poems!


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