Micah Raskin Discusses the Psychological and Physical Benefits of Gardening
NASSAU COUNTY, NY, USA, July 31, 2020 / — Micah Raskin, a professional poker player and local philanthropist, loves to garden. “You wouldn’t think it to look at me,” laughs Raskin, “but it’s a passion of mine. I love to be outside, and I love to watch things grow. There are few things more satisfying than nurturing life in the quiet of nature.”
And other than putting delicious veggies and fruits on the table or decorating your home with lovely flowers, gardening offers a variety of benefits both physical and mental for those who enjoy it.
Get Your Vitamin D With Gardening Says Micah Raskin
Vitamin D increases levels of calcium in your body, which helps your immune system function better and makes your bones stronger. Studies have found that exposure to sunlight increases vitamin D levels in adults, and gardening is – usually – an outdoor, daylight activity.
“Being outside always gives my mood an instant boost,” says Micah Raskin. “And when you live in New York City, a little extra greenery and sunlight can keep you sane.” Just don’t forget to wear sunscreen and sunglasses so you don’t damage your skin or your eyes!
Gardening Decreases Your Risk of Dementia Says Micah Raskin
A study from 2006 found that gardening lowers your risk of dementia by 36%. More than 2,800 people over the age of 60 were tracked by researchers for 16 years. The study concluded that physical activity – and gardening in particular – reduced the risk of developing dementia in future years.
“It doesn’t surprise me a bit,” says Micah Raskin. “When you’re gardening, your mind is at rest – you’re much more mindful of your surroundings and your actions. I know mindfulness and meditation are also recommended to stave off dementia. Gardening is my favorite form of meditation.”
Micah Raskin Says Gardening is Great Exercise
“Obviously there are all kinds of gardens,” says Micah Raskin. “But no matter how large or small your garden is, you’re going to have to do a little physical labor to take care of it.”
From lifting bags of soil to bending over and reaching to weed, gardening is a surprisingly physical activity for most people. You may not even realize that you’re breaking a sweat as you become absorbed in what you’re doing says Micah Raskin, a long-time gardener.
“Pulling weeds, hoeing the ground, digging holes, lifting tools and plants, bending and twisting to reach – it’s all really great exercise. You may not realize it at the time, but you’ll be able to tell you were exercising when you wake up in the morning,” chuckles Micah Raskin. Gardening can work new muscles and help improve your stamina, flexibility, and strength.
Professional poker player, Micah Raskin, has created a real and lasting impact on the Queens community through his philanthropic efforts.
Over the past ten years, Micah Raskin has reached a level of success in the professional poker world that few can boast of. He made a splash at his first live event in 2007 and has been counted among the top poker earners in the U.S. ever since. Just four years into his career, Raskin had already made it to sixteen final tables, won four major poker tournaments, and made over a million dollars in winnings. He has appeared in the Bellagio Weekly Tournament, the Borgata Summer Poker Open, and the World Series of Poker–among other of the world’s top poker tournaments.
But Raskin tells us that his real passion is not the game itself, but the good work he can do with his earnings. Micah has used his social standing and his money to contribute to and establish multiple community-based philanthropies and outreach programs.
“My goal is, and always has been, to strengthen the Queens community,” says Micah. “I believe that your community is your family, your bedrock. When you pour into your foundation, you strengthen yourself as well.”
Micah Raskin Discusses The Importance of After-School Programs
“Students who have access to after-school programs receive so many benefits that carry into their future lives,” enthuses Micah Raskin. “They perform better in class, they are less likely to get detention or be in trouble with the law, and they learn how to form meaningful relationships with authority figures.”
Many afterschool programs offer help with homework, facilitate games and playtime that can improve social skills, and provide a safe, supervised environment that keeps children busy and out of trouble.
His own experience with the benefits of after-school programs led Micah Raskin to create an after-school program for grade school children in Queens. “Every child deserves a safe environment that is conducive to learning and developing socially, intellectually, and physically. There are a lot of kids in Queens who don’t have that kind of safe environment at home–or whose parents can’t get home to be with them until after work. Even in a loving home, being left alone for hours at a time isn’t the best-case scenario for developing minds.”
Raskin’s after-school program provides regular homework support for students and gives them the opportunity to relax and build friendships. They’re able to receive more attention and support from adults–something that’s vital in building healthy boundaries and installing a sense of security. These minor changes in their lives can have huge impacts.
“Studies show that kids in after-school programs have fewer behavior problems. As they gain confidence and learn how to direct their emotions, they stop lashing out. You can stop bullying at the source instead of punishing a hurting child,” says Micah.
“Public schools across the country are in dire straights–kids need these kinds of safe havens and productive outlets for their energy and emotions. These programs produce happier, healthier kids who do better in school,” continues Micah Raskin. “I saw the need and I had to help. When you pour into the youth of your community, you end up with a stronger, better community. I love Queens, and I want it to be a great place for the children of this community to grow up.”
Volunteering at the Soup Kitchen Feeds the Hungry – and Your Soul Says Micah Raskin
“I’ve always loved cooking,” says Micah Raskin. “I love to cook for my friends and family–there’s something about feeding people that makes you feel good.”
Micah goes on to say that he believes everyone should be able to access nutritious, high-quality food. “It’s a basic human need–it should be a basic human right.” That’s why the young philanthropist and entrepreneur volunteers regularly with the soup kitchen.
“I’ve always been passionate about making food for my loved ones,” says Raskin. “It felt like a natural extension to start making food for my community and the people who need it most.”
“There are millions of people in America who go hungry every day,” says Micah Raskin. “Women, children, senior citizens, the disabled, veterans…these are people we’re supposed to be taking care of.”
In many soup kitchens in Queens and Nassau County NY, volunteers purchase, cook, and serve meals to the homeless and needy population. “It’s easy to think of poverty, homelessness, and hunger as a distant problem–something that’s prevalent in other countries. It’s jarring and humbling to realize that there are so many people in need right on your doorstep. You can’t unsee it. I just had to do something.”
Micah encourages people to look into opportunities to serve in their own communities. Every major city has soup kitchens and shelters and they are always in need of volunteers and donations. “If you don’t have a lot, just share your time. Often, that’s the most meaningful contribution you could make anyway.”
Micah Raskin Discusses His Efforts to Support Children With Autism
Micah has funded many community outreach programs and philanthropies. “I think the one that’s the most fun for me is my annual BBQ and swim party for the autistic children in my programs,” says Raskin, smiling. “Swimming is therapeutic for many people with autism and it’s so much fun to watch them have a good time and get a chance to just be a kid.”
“There are three major goals that we promote in our swimming programs for children with special needs,” says Micah Raskin. “We want to make sure they have a firm grasp of water safety, that we’re encouraging fun and safe exercise, and that they’re improving their mental and emotional health. You wouldn’t think that swimming could do all that. But being in the water and having access to a pool on the weekends–it’s a huge deal for these kids.”
Research shows that children with special needs benefit from swimming in a number of ways–improved balance, core strength, and overall body awareness are just a few. Many children with disabilities do well in the water because it’s easier to move and it provides a sort of stimulation muffling. You can only feel so much physical sensation at once, and the sensation of the water can block out other, less pleasant stimulation that autistic children are particularly sensitive to.
“It’s so good for them physically, but what fires me up is the joy–that pure ‘I’m a kid’ play instinct that children with autism don’t generally get to experience as often as their neurotypical peers,” says Micah.
Micha Raskin is a long-time believer in community building and the power of giving back. He urges others to follow his example. “You don’t have to have millions to do good,” he says. “You just have to find a need in your community and fill it.”
Micah Raskin professional poker player in NY has impacted his local Queens community through various outreaches, crafting a legacy of charity work in his borough over the years.
Few professional poker players have earned the credentials and success that Micah Raskin has in just over a decade of play. He made his first live-event cash in 2007 and has been among the country’s top poker earners ever since. In the very beginning of his professional career, just four years in, Micah Raskin had already made it to sixteen final tables, cashed in dozens of times, won four major events, brought home money at the WSOP three times, and earned more than a million dollars in this period.
From then on, he played in some of the world’s top poker tournaments including Bellagio Weekly Tournament, the Borgata Summer Poker Open, and the World Series of Poker event. Micah Raskin has also played the NAPT in Los Angeles, the River Guaranteed Poker Series, the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, and the $10,000 NLHE 6-Max High Roller event in addition to many others.
Over the years, Micah Raskin used his earnings and success to establish or contribute to a number of outreaches and community-building programs that strengthen neighborhoods in Queens.
Micah Raskin Volunteers with Local Soup Kitchens
Micah Raskin has long held a passion for food and has shared it with his parents and his family who he often cooks meals for. He says the gift of quality food is something that people may not be able to get on their own, but undoubtedly need in order to survive. Cooking for others satisfies an urge to supply others with nourishment and Raskin says it has plenty of its own special benefits for the cooks.
After sharing his passion with loved ones for years, Micah Raskin used his passion for food to help in the nonprofit realm by volunteering with his local soup kitchen. At these locations, volunteers can purchase, supply, cook, and serve meals to those community members who need it most, such as homeless, teenage runaways, and those in extreme poverty among others.
“Millions of people go hungry in our country every day–children, adults, elderly, you name it,” says Micah Raskin. “Soup kitchens provide food and nourishment to these individuals and offer a place to escape the elements, a place to get warm in the winters or cool off in the summers with a roof over their heads.”
Soup kitchens can be found in every major city and are always in need of help, whether through volunteer work, food donations, or monetary donations. People like Micah Raskin help out along the entire process to make sure the kitchen continues providing as much support to their communities as they can.
Micah Raskin Helps Develop After-School Program
“Students who have the resource of an after-school program are able to perform better in the classroom because they have fewer negative factors impacting their days,” says Micah Raskin. “Professional leaders in these environments can encourage students to do work in a safe place and can usually offer tutoring services to help them through their schoolwork if needed. This one-on-one time proves to be a benefit to students’ grades and can have a tremendous impact on their behavior as well.”
Micah Raskin has helped create an after-school program in Queens for grade school kids who may not have a safe or conducive environment to go to once school is over. After-school programs provide regular homework support for students and give them the opportunity to relax or be with friends. They don’t have to worry about poverty and living in overcrowded environments there and can receive more attention and support from adults. This, in turn, helps their overall behavior and results in far fewer bullies or aggressive classmates in school.
“After-school programs provide academic support and positive youth development that
translates into healthier, happier, and better-performing students of all levels,” says
Micah Raskin. “We’re in dire need of more of these programs in public school
throughout the country, but especially in those neighborhoods with high numbers of at-
In addition, these types of programs can actually teach and encourage healthier eating habits from students. Often, a lack of education or else a lack of resources often mean students go home to eat junk food or other non-nutritious meals that can impede their growth or harm their overall health. In after-school programs, students have the potential to learn healthier habits like
increased physical activity and improved nutrition, which may result in reduced obesity levels. Some after-school programs partner with organizations such as the CACFP that provide nutritious food, drinks, and snacks to students who may not be able to get them elsewhere.
Micah Raskin Spreads Solidarity and Community in His Neighborhoods
Living in Queens, NY, Micah Raskin has found plenty of opportunities to get involved in his community, empower his friends and neighbors, and donate time, money and resources to improve the lives of those in the borough. He’s developed a high reputation in the area for his charity work and hopes to inspire those around him to make greater efforts to help out, leading them by example.
Besides directly funding and helping to uphold various outreach programs in Queens, he also encourages friends, peers, relatives and others in his life to volunteer in any capacity they can. He acknowledges that many of these programs–such as soup kitchens and homeless shelters–tend to be understaffed and need support from their community to make a bigger difference.
In his spare time, Micah Raskin spends as much time in his community as he can, encouraging and uplifting others as needed and responding to local concerns and issues with wisdom and support. He mentions that the way he volunteers doesn’t have to be how others do it, either. He prompts them instead to look within to their own passions and discover available outlets in their communities that answer that calling.
“It’s hard to believe that people in our country go to bed starving, face violence or a lack of resources at home, don’t have an education program that fits their unique needs and challenges, or various other seemingly easily solvable problems,” says Micah Raskin. “Everyone likes to shift blame and responsibility, but the truth is we just need more people getting out in their communities and helping out. There are plenty of ways for people to volunteer. They just need to look to community boards or local nonprofit groups who share their needs. The point is to go out and find where the people in your city need help the most. Any little bit of volunteer work can help out.”
Child development enthusiast and avid volunteer Micah Raskin discusses how swimming can mentally and physically benefit children with special needs.
Recent studies show swim programs specifically designed for children with special needs can be particularly beneficial. Volunteer and child development enthusiast Micah Raskin explains how these benefits are physical and mental.
Swimming programs designed for special needs children are different from general swimming courses, Micah Raskin describes. These programs focus on building muscle in deficient areas, improving flexibility, working on motor skills, developing water safety skills, and more.
“There are three major goals in mind when providing swimming programs for special needs children,” Micah Raskin says. “Teaching essential water safety skills, promoting fun and engaging exercise, and improving emotional and mental health.”
Recent research shows swimming programs can offer numerous physical benefits to kids with special needs. Those benefits, according to enthusiasts like Micah Raskin, include improved core strength, reduced risk of disease, superior control of body weight, improved balance, endurance, and more overall body awareness. These are benefits that are enjoyed by children in the short and long term.
“Experiencing the joy of swimming is something these kids will take with them throughout their lives,” Micah Raskin explains. “They’re receiving all of these benefits, like improved motor skills and muscle strength, but they’re having fun doing it. This helps kids with special needs understand that exercise doesn’t have to be painful or boring.”
Swimming has also been proven to provide mental health benefits to children with special needs. Micah Raskin explains that kids gain self-esteem and confidence by noticing individual progress. Children also learn to trust their swim coaches and build lasting relationships with fellow swimming classmates.
Many kids who experience limited movement in everyday life experience a greater range of motion in the water. Children who have little independence on land can experience independence, often for the first time, in the water.
“The most important part of a swimming program for special needs children is focusing on what these kids can do,” Micah Raskin says. “So many times, they’re told they have limitations or that they simply cannot do something. In the water, they learn that they can do a lot more than many people think and those limits are meant to be broken.”
Swim lessons for special needs children also serve major safety purposes. The National Autism Association says that drowning is one of the leading causes of death for kids with autism. Swimming programs teach kids the essentials they need to survive if they unexpectedly find themselves in water.
Swimming is an essential life skill. Micah Raskin emphasizes that kids with special needs are just as capable of learning this skill, and enjoying its physical and mental benefits, as their peers.
A semi-professional player, Micah Raskin dominates poker games across the country when not working on his own professional endeavors and volunteering with local outreach programs in Nassau and Queens County NY. To date, Raskin’s earnings total almost 2 million dollars after playing dozens of top competitions for years.
A seasoned winner at poker, Micah Raskin made his first live-event cash in 2007 and has developed a wide reputation for being one of the country’s largest earners in the game. In the first four years of his poker career, Raskin cashed 25 times, made it to 16 final tables, won 4 major events, cashed at the WSOP three times, and earned almost $2 million. A native of New York, he graduated from Baruch College with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and today is president of a direct marketing company and a software company.
Micah Raskin’s poker debut came during the 2007 World Series of Poker event (WSOP) in Atlantic City, NJ. During the event, he finished fifth in the $500 NLHE and ended up winning a total of $4,020 before it was over. In the same year, he played at the WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic and earned just under $29,000 in the $15,000 NLHE. With his reputation set, he signed up for a handful of tournaments in 2008 and won a total of five separate cash prizes with the first at the L.A. Poker Classic.
He also cashed in winnings during the Bellagio Weekly Tournament, the Borgata Summer Poker Open, and the World Series of Poker event that year where he brought home $10,759 in the $1,500 NLHE. The fifth and final win of the year was at the $500,000 Borgata Deep Stack, where Micah Raskin earned $38,240 after finishing 9th in the $2,000 NLHE. Micah Raskin’s poker earnings continued to stack afterwards including winning a position as runner up in 2009 at the $1,500 NLHE at the Borgata Deep Stack, which paid out a total of $140,850.
Raskin won a whopping $320,231 during another round of the Borgata for the Deep Stack and finished in 6th place in the $500 NLHE at the WSOP Circuit, winning $18,071. He cashed seven times in 2010, earning $50,098 as runner-up in the $1,500 NLHE Mega Stack Challenge and $117,457 in the $10,000 NLHE Regional Championship at the WSOP Circuit event at Harrah’s Atlantic City, among other wins.
A decade later, Micah Raskin’s poker earnings multiplied by hundreds of thousands of dollars after cashing in at events like the NAPT in Los Angeles, the River Guaranteed Poker Series, the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, and the $10,000 NLHE 6-Max High Roller event. Over the years, he’s proven himself a master of the game and a worthy opponent at some of the most elite and competitive poker events in the nation. Today, Micah Raskin is recognized as one of the country’s top earners of all time.
Professional poker player Micah Raskin volunteers with many outreach programs and community-building organizations in Nassau and Queens County NY to help improve the lives of people in his neighborhood and beyond. To give grade school children a safe and conducive environment to be in after hours. Micah has helped establish an afterschool program that offers a place to relax, perform schoolwork, or have fun for dozens of kids.
Micah Raskin believes most people underestimate the great value afterschool programs can have on the lives of children everywhere. For many kids across the country, when school gets out, there aren’t any options for a safe and comfortable environment as their homes may not always be the most conducive place for growth. Community builders like Micah Raskin aim to create a positive environment for students that can foster healthy traits and habits, as he has demonstrated in a recent afterschool programs in Nassau and Queens County NY.
“After School programs offer a unique support system for grade school students that can instill
emotional development and personal growth,” says Micah Raskin. “There, they can complete
school work in a peaceful environment if they needed or goof around with friends, but they can
also learn crucial skills like computer typing and participate in positive social activities.”
At home, grade school kids may have tight restrictions on what they can do or where they can go, but after school programs give them a place to exercise certain freedoms or accomplish tasks without the potential of getting into trouble. They can develop leadership skills, build new relationships, accomplish homework goals, learn about constructive teamwork, and much more. Certain programs even create activities that give back to their own community, teaching students to appreciate charity and recognize the positive impact it has on society.
“Many kids across New York City live in poverty and their families simply can’t afford many
opportunities for them outside of school,” says Micah Raskin. “Children right here in my own
neighborhood need these afterschool programs to develop social skills and promote better
academics while keeping them out of trouble. After School programs end up being a huge benefit to society overall since it shapes children into responsible citizens.”
In the afterschool programs that Micah Raskin helped create in Nassau and Queens County, professional educators host spaces either in schools or at community centers to be used by students when school lets out. Often until dinner time or later. Here, the educators motivate their students and reinforce positive habits that help them increase their self-esteem and connect with other people or elements of their community. This has a tremendous impact on the students and often deters them from getting involved in violence or unlawful activities.
Micah Raskin has proven that afterschool programs have the power to help students thrive in their academics and give them more to look forward to when school is over. They instill positive traits such as collaboration, healthy communication, and critical thinking and encourage personal growth among all who attend.
Over the years, Micah Raskin has been an instrumental component of many outreach programs and volunteer efforts to improve his local community in Queens and Nassau County New York. To help handicapped children learn to swim, he was one of the founders of a local swimming program catering to children from inner city neighborhoods.
Besides being one of the nation’s leading poker players, Micah Raskin has developed a reputation for his volunteer work and the various programs he’s created to serve the people in his community. The outreaches he supports have made a tremendous difference in the lives of homeless individuals, families in need, children and others by building community and offering support where needed.
He works in various soup kitchens in his spare time, which help to feed hundreds of people in Nassau and Queens County NY and gives guests a warm place to eat and socialize. He’s encouraged and implemented after-school programs for kids to spend free time in a safe and conducive environment. Recently, he helped build a program that assists handicapped children from inner-city neighborhoods learn how to swim.
“Swimming programs are invaluable to handicapped children and their families as it teaches the
kids basic survival techniques as well as acclimates them to recreational activities in the water,”
says Micah Raskin. “Besides these benefits, our swimming program brings together a
community of families with similar lifestyles and struggles who come together to enjoy their
weekends in a wholesome environment.”
Swimming, Micah Raskin tells us, has numerous physical benefits on the body including increasing muscle strength and improving coordination. However, he believes the most important aspect of swimming lessons is their ability to save lives in situations that handicapped children may not be prepared for otherwise. Raskin’s weekend program is specially-designed for handicap children and empowers them with critical abilities.
While enjoying their time in the pool, the children in Raskin’s program participate in one of the most impactful physical activities available. Swimming can be a low-intensity activity or a high-intensity one depending on the level desired. The activity gives the entire body––legs, arms, core, back, and more––a workout that increases strength, balance, and flexibility. In addition, it has a soothing effect on aching joints and muscles and cools the body off during hot days.
The program that Raskin has helped create in Nassau and Queens County NY teaches children to swim but also provides them and their families with many emotional benefits; it helps them function more efficiently in a group of other special needs children and builds lasting relationships between families. Progress is shared among everyone in attendance, which helps boost morale and provides encouragement to continue improving.
“There aren’t enough programs like this in the world, much less here in the boroughs of
busy New York City,” says Micah Raskin. “They give kids with disabilities the chance to grow,
make new friends, learn crucial skills, and improve their physicality. And it’s all in a safe and
supportive environment of caring, qualified leaders.”
One of America’s top poker players, Micah Raskin is also a regular volunteer at nonprofit organizations in his neighborhood of Nassau County, New York. In addition to other outreach efforts, he frequently works with a local soup kitchen by donating food items and helping prepare and serve hot meals to those in need.
Micah Raskin is a professional poker player who while playing has won big. Millions of dollars to his credit. Micah has donated more than 25% of all his poker winnings to charity. He has been one of the biggest winning poker donors to date. He participates in dozens of tournaments and games each year where he dominates the competition in a variety of playing styles.
When he’s not playing poker, Micah Raskin donates much of his time and resources to many local nonprofit organizations helping the needy. One of his most visited outreaches, is a local soup kitchen in Hempstead New York. It is often in need of volunteer support year-round, and he lends support wherever and whenever he can.
“It’s shocking to see how many people come into the soup kitchen looking for a meal, a hot shower, or a bed to sleep for a few hours, every day ,” says Micah Raskin. “It breaks your heart to see so many people starving, but we can make a real difference in the lives of the needy right in our own cities by getting involved with soup kitchens, Food pantries and other nonprofits.”
Hunger is a tremendous problem for people everywhere—even here in one of the most financially stable countries in the world. Millions of American citizens and children go hungry each and every day. Likely facing homelessness, poverty, or other difficult struggles that prevent them from eating. Nonprofit volunteers like Micah Raskin get involved with local soup kitchens to help combat this crisis in their own neighborhoods. Here, they can cook and handout food and resources to the homeless or needy. In addition to making either a monetary or non perishable food donation for our food pantry. We also have a boutique where we collect and give out mens womens and childrens new and lightly used clothes. It is extremely important this time of year heading into winter to protect the extremities of the homeless. Such as their hands and feet and making sure they have proper shoes, socks and gloves and also have a warm coat. We also try to place them in the many men, women and family shelters that are also available to them, but space and resources are limited.
In New York, Micah Raskin volunteers in a number of capacities, helping prepare and serve more than 350 meals each day to struggling individuals. He’s happy to help the cause whenever he can, but he wishes more people would get involved. That’s why Micah Raskin is also on the Speakers committee. He speaks at the local Colleges and Universities and fraternal organizations to spread awareness of the hunger and homeless problem we have right here in New York. Micah is also diligent in working directing with the fundraising departments of these organizations helping in building campaigns for new donors. It’s the lifeblood of these organizations.
“Soup kitchens aren’t like a restaurant that runs on a monetary system which allows managers to hire new people when needed and improve menu offerings regularly,” says Micah Raskin. “Here, the food is either donated or purchased by volunteers who also keep up the kitchens and prepare meals in large quantities every day.”
Today, there are soup kitchens in need of extra help in almost every major city in the country. Run by volunteers, they provide nutrition to those in need at no cost, and they also serve as an entry point to a better life for struggling individuals. In these kitchens, professionals like Micah Raskin gather and provide a basic need as well as help their fellow community members ultimately find a path to a brighter future.
Micah Raskin is a professional poker player who volunteers at many community-building organizations in his neighborhood in Nassau County, New York. In addition to regularly helping out at soup kitchens and encouraging new after-school programs, Raskin has been an instrumental component of local programs helping handicapped children in the inner city swim on the weekends.
In Nassau County and Queens NY, Micah Raskin in known for his philanthropic work which has helped feed thousands of homeless people, create a safe environment for numerous after-school kids, 2 schools for children, and fund three temples for the elderly. In addition, he’s raised money and secured plans for swimming programs for handicapped children from the inner city.
Micah Raskin acknowledges the many physical benefits that swimming has on the body, from increased muscle strength to improved coordination. But he also recognizes the importance of swimming lessons, which can help save lives. With these benefits in mind, Raskin has supported the creation of specially-designed weekend swimming programs that can help handicap children gain critical abilities.
“Swimming programs are invaluable to handicapped children and their families as it teaches the kids basic survival techniques as well as acclimates them to recreational activities in the water,” says Micah Raskin. “Besides these benefits, our swimming program brings together a community of families with similar lifestyles and struggles who can come together to enjoy their weekends in a wholesome environment.”
Swimming, he says, has more total benefits for the body than almost any other activity, regardless of individual circumstances. It’s a low-intensity activity, for starters, that can increase in difficulty if desired. Swimming gives the entire body–legs, arms, core, back, etc.–a workout that increases strength, balance, and flexibility. It can even have a soothing effect on achy joints and muscles, not to mention cooling the body off during hot days.
Swimming has tremendous benefits for all children, but learning to swim is particularly beneficial for children with special needs since it can often mean the difference between life and death. For handicapped children, learning to swim helps them achieve more balance, coordination, and enhance the development of motor skills. Swimming can also vastly improve their range of motion.
Having a place to learn to swim with other children facing the same difficulty also has plenty of emotional benefits for the kids and their families. It helps them function more efficiently in a group of other high-functioning special needs children. The progress they make is shared throughout the group and in their individual performance, giving kids small milestones and goals to meet and allowing them to witness their growth first-hand.
“There aren’t enough programs like this in the world, much less here in one of the boroughs of busy New York City,” says Micah Raskin. “They give kids with disabilities the chance to grow, make new friends, learn crucial skills, and improve their physicality. And it’s all in a safe and supportive environment of caring, qualified leaders.”
Micah Raskin is a regular volunteer with soup kitchens and other New York-based groups aiming to improve the lives of the needy by purchasing, cooking, and serving food. Here, he discusses how the simple act of making food for others can have a tremendous impact on individuals and families everywhere.
A seasoned chef, Micah Raskin has found a passion for cooking that he uses to benefit his family and his neighborhood in Queens and Nassau County NY. He regularly volunteers with local soup kitchens where he helps supply and prepare meals that are then served at no cost to those in need.
“I think most people don’t understand how large of a difference cooking a meal for someone else can have in the lives of people anywhere,” says Micah Raskin. “It eliminates the need for people to go out and purchase raw materials; it saves them from prepping and cooking–which, in itself, requires access to expensive kitchen appliances, and it doesn’t require anything more from them than sitting down and enjoying a warm meal. In addition, they likely won’t have to do anything other than throw away plates and utensils or else pass them onto a dishwasher.”
Micah Raskin has worked for years with the local soup kitchen in his neighborhood in Nassau County NY, where many go hungry every night. People who come to the kitchen for food may be runaways, homeless individuals, struggling teens, or people facing something so extreme they are unable to find sustenance during any given day. His and other volunteers’ contributions make a real difference in the lives of those suffering in their own neighborhoods.
“As a society, we have such an abundance of food available everywhere we go that it’s difficult for many to comprehend how people can go without eating, but it happens every day,” says Micah Raskin. “People may be surrounded by food, but many don’t even have enough funds to purchase a single meal from a food chain or groceries from a corner market.”
Besides donating and cooking food for his local soup kitchen, Micah Raskin also cooks meals for his elderly parents each day, demonstrating how cooking a single meal can make a tremendous difference. And, Raskin notes, cooking for others also has a large impact on our own psyche.
“Cooking for others is fulfilling because we’re satisfying a survival need and inevitably gain a huge sense of fulfillment because we’ve helped others in the most basic, primal way we can,” says Micah Raskin. “You’re giving people something they need to survive, which they can’t get on their own. It’s a very rewarding experience on many levels, some immediately recognized and some not.”
Additionally, Raskin believes cooking for others helps people form bonds with others and fosters a sense of community, trust, and purpose, which can lead to decreased depression and increased well-being for everyone.