With this new series, the CEE Alumni Council aims to highlight those members of our alumni community who are serving on the front lines of the fight against Covid-19. In addition, we are sharing stories of CEE community members who have made their quarantine into an opportunity to be of service from their homes with compassion.

CEE alumni, please contact alumni@cee-school.org to share your story or that of a fellow alum serving others.

Healthcare Hero: Justin Shafa '03

Justin Shafa ‘03, MD is partway through his radiology residency in New York City. When Covid-19 hit New York, his hospital was and continues to be at the epicenter of the pandemic within the US. Justin volunteered to leave his comfort zone within the radiology department and join the nurses and physicians that were quickly becoming overwhelmed in the ICU. He purposefully threw himself into the fire when he knew that he could be of help on the floor. 

Justin called upon his strong social network to procure much-needed PPE, food, and equipment for his teammates in the hospital. Justin's brother, Dr. Brian Shafa '95, writes, “These past three months have truly proven that Justin is my hero, and his selfless, unwavering, compassionate care should stand as a model for physicians around the world. I used to think that Justin followed my lead into medicine, but it has become increasingly clear throughout this unprecedented crisis that the reason we both entered medicine is the shared sense of empathy, responsibility, and sincerity that was instilled within us during our time at CEE. We are who are because of the path set forth during those early days in the Cage, the rooftops, and the classroom.” We share our deep gratitude for Justin and his dedication to helping others.

Healthcare Hero: Lindsey Ross '94

Lindsey Ross ‘94 (and current CEE parent) works at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center as a neurosurgeon, completing a complex spine fellowship this year. Through the Covid-19 crisis, Lindsey has continued to take Spine Trauma call and treat all patients regardless of their Covid-19 status. Lindsey shares, “Even though it may be a bit scarier to come to work, I will always be there for my patients, and always stay ready and equipped to assist in any way I can.” We applaud you, Lindsey!

From a Friend: Emma Gerber ‘06 and Emma Gersh ‘06

CEE Alumni Emma Gerber ‘06 and Emma Gersh ‘06 formed From a Friend amidst the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to let people send small gifts to their distant loved ones while raising funds to help support the people who needed it most. Profit from each bracelet sold is donated to securing PPE for healthcare workers on the front lines. In the first week, From a Friend sold over 300 bracelets, resulting in a $3,000 donation. Emma and Emma share that they “hope to bring everyone the feeling of togetherness even when they are apart from each other.” Way to go, Emma and Emma!

Tie-Dye for Covid: Bella Samuel ’15 and Gigi Samuel ‘18

Bella Samuel ‘15 and her younger sister, Gigi Samuel ‘18, came up with a colorful way to bring some joy into homes during these trying times with handmade tie-dye clothes and accessories. Gigi and Bella started tie-dying at home in mid-March and they are now selling tie-dye masks, t-shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, and socks in all sizes and colors. Every week, Gigi and Bella donate 100% of the proceeds to different organizations throughout the US that directly support Covid-19 relief. They recently donated to Mount Sinai Hospital NYC and This Is About Humanity. The project can be found on Instagram @tiedyeforcovid19.
The Center for Early Education, a socio-economically and culturally diverse independent school for children, toddlers through grade six, strives to graduate students who are joyful, resilient, life-long learners. The Center embraces a philosophy of education that combines a nurturing, inclusive learning environment with an increasingly challenging academic program that addresses the developmental needs of each child.