Maya Belen is raising $8K to send a sick child to Disney World for her bat mitzvah project.

Maya Belen of Birmingham will become a bat mitzvah in April next year, but her preparations started back in March when she decided she wanted to send a sick child to Disney World as her mitzvah project.

Initially, Maya wanted to visit the pediatric cancer patients at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak but was told she was too young. So, she decided to take it one step further and raise the money to send one of these children on the trip to Disney World.

The idea came to the Derby Middle School student upon talking to the founder and CEO of Born Yoga in Birmingham, Ashley Goldberg. When she was a teenager, Goldberg was diagnosed with cancer and was selected to participate in the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s programs. Goldberg told Maya about the organization, and Maya was inspired to make this her new project.

At first, Maya’s friend participated in the project as well, but Maya since has taken over the fundraising efforts. In the five months since its conception, Maya’s project has raised nearly $5,000 of the $8,000 necessary to fund a trip to Disney World for a sick child through Make-A-Wish. She has raised the money through a variety of baking and snack sales at her middle school and will be having another fundraiser during the Woodward Dream Cruise in August.

Maya is hoping to reach her $8,000 goal by her bat mitzvah and is looking forward to seeing the result of her hard work.

“I just want to meet the kid and get to see the enjoyment of them getting to go to Disney World,” she said.

Maya’s mom, Andrea, has been supporting Maya throughout the process and feels it will be very rewarding for Maya to see a child get to have a great experience because of her efforts.

If you would like to help Maya reach her goal, donate at


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