Citizens of the Movement: Robin Engelman’s building birthday bash

Last year, as Robin Engelman sat in her synagogue’s High Holiday services, the rabbi was on a diatribe about modern society not doing enough for the world.  The rabbi delivered a line about people these days sleeping through their lives.  This struck a nerve with Robin.  “It hit me,” she says. “I have to make the world a better place for my 50th birthday.  buildOn immediately popped into my mind. I thought ‘I’ll make a team and build a school.’ ”

Robin combined her 50th birthday bash with a fundraiser for buildOn and the school she will be building early next year in Senegal, along with the help of her family and friends.

The party was “building” themed.  “We built graham cracker school houses, necklaces, a story, a dance, and of course a cocktail, which we named Senegal Slinger,” Robin says.

The caterer, Gwen Kenneally from Back to the Kitchen Catering, supported the building theme with Build an Appetizer, Build a Salad, Build a Wrap, Build a Mashed Potato Mountain, Build a Birthday Cake, and Build a Churro.

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Children at Robin’s birthday enjoy building her a birthday cake!


“I’ve always wanted to do big things that impact the world,” Robin says.  She has been a volunteer in her community her whole life, but always had the desire to give back more.

Robin first heard of buildOn through a childhood friend’s campaign to build a school.  “I watched this happen from across the country, via social media, and it really stuck in my mind and inspired me that my friend was involved in the world in this way.”

After connecting with buildOn, Robin was thrilled to be raising money to build a primary school in Senegal with her husband, children and friends!  If you would like to check out Robin’s campaign or possibly join her team to help build the school, check out her page here: