By Jessica Boico
From a young age, senior Rebecca Bressler has had two passions: community service and hockey. Bressler said that she always watched NHL games on TV and her dad playing in local leagues. She started skating when she was three years old and has “loved it ever since.”
She has played on the Long Island Lions for a number of years and is currently playing for the Bethpage Sound Tigers. Bressler is the only female goalie on her team.
Hockey isn’t the only driving force in her life. Bressler has also been immensely dedicated to various community service organizations, such as GALS, an organization that empowers young girls by teaching them to play sports. She has also volunteered at the Samuel Field Y, an organization that supports the local community by leading events geared towards children with special needs. Her strong passions for hockey and community service ultimately led her to find the perfect blend of both: The Henrik Lundqvist Foundation (HLF).
Founded in 2014 by New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, the foundation is designed to “make a difference in the lives of children and their families…in the areas of health and education,” according to the foundation’s website.
Bressler first discovered the foundation because Henrik Lundqvist is her favorite player. However, as she did more research, it “just seemed perfect” to her. “It gave those in need the long-term relief needed to break the cycle of poverty. I knew I had to apply and become a part of this incredible foundation,” she said. Out of over 300 ninth to twelfth grade applicants from all over New York, Bressler was one of only eight applicants who were selected. “The process was long and the questions were ‘nitty-gritty,’” Bressler said. “However, it was completely worth it.”
Named an HLF Ambassador in August 2016, Bressler is required to create an independent service project to raise and then donate money to a cause that aligns with the foundation’s goals. Bressler also attends various HLF events and volunteers locally, including packaging gifts during Christmas, volunteering at soup kitchens, and supplying food banks. “The foundation looks for those who are committed, dedicated, and willing to work hard,” said Bressler. “This is the foundation you get affiliated with because you truly love and care about helping others.”
While the end of her high school career approaches, Bressler intends to continue her work in community service throughout her entire life. Her future goals include interning for a non-profit in college and then going on to work in that field. “I love helping others, and I’d love to do that for my whole life. I’m going to get a communications degree from college and see where that takes me.”