"W hat are you doing for your chesed project this year?” Chaya asked Rivky.

Binah High School had mandatory chesed hours that every girl was responsible to complete before moving up to the next grade. Rivky had been babysitting for the same family since ninth grade, and now that three years had passed and she was actually — finally! — a senior, she was ready for a different experience. After all, shouldn’t her last year in high school be different and exciting in every way?

“I want it to be really special, not just run-of-the-mill babysitting, know what I mean?” Rivky rejoined. “I’m just tired of the same-old-same-old.”

“Got it,” Chaya said, nodding. “But what can you do that’s unique?”

“I had this brainstorm,” Rivky shared, leaning close to her best friend. “How does this grab you? I want to offer free math tutoring to elementary kids by phone. I’ll post my hours — let’s say, twice a week in the evenings — and then kids can call in and I’ll help them.”

“Wow!” Chaya whistled, visibly impressed. “That’s a phenomenal idea! Good luck with it.”

“Thanks,” Rivky said, and her left dimple made its appearance alongside her grin. “I hope this takes off.”

One day later, a colorful poster caught Shevi Goldfeder’s eye. Shevi was in seventh grade at Torah Institute, and math was her nemesis. Show her a decimal point or a negative integer, and she began feeling like she was swimming underwater, her lungs gasping for air. Her teachers were threatening to hold her back if she didn’t pull a passing grade for the remainder of the year. And her parents insisted that if that were to happen, she would spend the entire summer with tutors — she could forget about sleepaway camp.

Shevi gulped. Why did life have to be so hard? But in a whoosh of fresh air, along came Rivky Klein’s offer. It seemed like a hand was stretching down from Shamayim to literally save her life. If she could just make it until eight o’clock tonight, maybe her whole life would do an about face.

Shevi looked at the clock every few minutes as the afternoon and evening crawled by. At last, eight o’clock finally arrived, and Shevi quickly dialed the number she had scrawled down.

In the house next door, a teenage girl lifted the phone to her ear.

“Hello?” Shevi called breathlessly as soon as someone picked up the line. “Is this Rivky?”

“Yes?” Rivky replied. “Who is this, please?”

“My name is Shevi, and I saw your sign. I was so happy. You see—”

And without warning, Shevi burst into a cacophony of tears. Shocked, Rivky waited, her heart going out to this unknown girl.

“I was just diagnosed with ADD plus a learning disability, and my life has become so complicated,” Shevi explained when she was finally able to talk. Sniffling, she continued. “It seems like everyone is disappointed in me — my parents, my teachers… Even my friends don’t want to spend time with me anymore ’cuz I can’t stay focused. They’ll be talking about one thing, and I quickly change the topic to something else. Then they look at me like I dropped from the moon! (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 684)