You are here

State Honoree

Jason Luks

New Jersey

Jason Luks, 13, of Randolph, N.J., an eighth-grader at Randolph Middle School, created “Performing Hearts,” a network of teens who lead dance workshops and perform for young people battling cancer and other serious illnesses. Inspired by childhood memories of the appreciative response of elderly nursing home patients to his piano playing, Jason developed his program as a ‘tzedakah’ (doing good things) project for his Bar Mitzvah. “The idea of helping children and teens fighting terrible illnesses like cancer and blood disorders felt like the right cause,” he said. “I knew that my friends and I could use our performing talents to brighten up their days.” Jason developed a plan and then contacted friends he’d met through dance classes, workshops and competitions. More than 50 teen performers volunteered their services. With help from the Valerie Fund, Jason organized a series of workshops and performances at Camp Happy Times, where over 90 young cancer patients enjoyed a series of dance and music performances and participated in jazz dance workshops. “When I talk to other people, I try to tell them how much fun it can be putting their skills to work for others,” Jason said. “We all grew from this experience.”