When Camp Simcha volunteer Kayla was planning her wedding, she had a very important question for the children she supports – and the answer was an emphatic ‘I do’.
Kayla Moise, formerly Hollander, asked Sofia, 9, Amelia, 6, Freddie, 2, to be her bridesmaids and pageboy for her wedding to Shalom recently. Kayla has been their Camp Simcha ‘Big Sister’ volunteer for the past 18 months, after Amelia was diagnosed with a gastrointestinal condition.
Camp Simcha Big Sisters and Big Brothers are specially trained volunteers, who act as ‘ambassadors of fun’, there for the seriously ill children the charity supports, as well as siblings, visiting the children regularly at home or in hospital.
“The children were all so excited when I asked them,” said Kayla, from North London. “As their Camp Simcha Big Sister they have become like family to me – so it was only right that they should be my bridesmaids and page boy. As my husband is a Camp Simcha volunteer too, it felt particularly fitting and the children did a brilliant job.”
The children’s mum, Ilana Leigh said it felt very special to be part of Kayla and Shalom’s celebration.
“The kids were overjoyed when she asked them – and just so excited. They did really well on the day and for us it was so lovely to be there. All the family made us feel so welcome and there was something really amazing and wonderful about the ripple effect of being part of the Camp simcha family and how far that goes.”
Camp Simcha Head of Services Daniel Gillis said it’s wonderful to the bond between volunteers and the children they support.
“Kayla’s was the first of two weddings we’ve had in the last few months where Camp Simcha children were the bridesmaids or pageboys.
“There is a very special bond between Big Brothers and Sisters and the children they look after that goes well beyond their time volunteering for the family. We have volunteers from over 25 years ago who are still in touch with their families. It really speaks volumes about the important role they play in each other’s lives.