A young Great Neck woman is serving in Israel with a humanitarian project helping to provide life-saving heart surgery and comfort to children.
Since October, Arielle Nir has worked as a volunteer with the Save A Child's Heart program — an Israel-based international project providing cardiac surgery and other critical procedures to kids.
The SACH program flies children from developing countries to Israel for surgery at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon.
Nir, 18, a gap year student with the Israel Experience program at Bar Ilan University, is enrolled in Jewish study seminars and undergraduate academic courses at the university's campus near Tel Aviv.
The North Shore Hebrew Academy graduate and two other young women in the program spend time running activities and providing friendship to the children both pre and post-surgery.
“It is so nice to directly communicate with these children from all over the world," said Nir in a SACH press release. "Playing and interacting with them really touches me."
The volunteers help ease any discomfort or homesickness that the children and sometimes mothers might be feeling while they're waiting for or recovering from their surgeries, according to a SACH press release.
"Volunteers play an important role in engaging the children in different activities which challenge them and keep them occupied,” said Save a Child's Life Young Leadership Director Randi Weiss.
Since 1995 SACH has provided care to over 3,000 children from Africa, South America, Europe, Asia and throughout the Middle East, according to the organization.