Smiles Through Cars: Local Heroes Helping Troubled Kids Smile Since 2006

Josh Aryeh made a name for himself by dressing up as Batman, the famous cloaked crusader, visiting troubled children in a variety of luxury cars.

Smiles Through Cars is a non-profit organization where dedicated volunteers use the rare combination of superhero costumes and exotic cars to bring smiles to the faces of sick and disadvantaged children in desperate times.

Founder and Great Neck resident of New York City, Josh Aryeh has dressed up as Batman, the famous cloaked crusader, visiting troubled children in a variety of luxury vehicles, giving off a ray of hope, and over the years. I’ve made a name for myself. To them when things seem at their darkest.

“It started with kids battling cancer,” he said. “But as the organization grows and our awareness grows, we’ll see more opportunities for children battling rare diseases, special needs, autism, children victimized by bullying, severe anxiety and depression, and more. I started including other issues, such as children who were struggling.”

The team at Smiles Through Cars is based out of Long Island, but has national and international reach via the organization’s Instagram account, which currently has nearly 400,000 followers.

“People are visiting in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, and many other areas. I go to many of these appearances, but we also have teams that make appearances,” Aryeh said. For kids, we can use social media to find people in the area who we can make physical visits to. Create personalized videos for kids featuring exotic car tours.”

Aryeh single-handedly launched the service in 2006. Batman’s costume came later, but at first he was just a philanthropist with a big heart who happened to have access to many fancy cars.

“I grew up in a middle-class family on Long Island, but I was bullied by a lot of kids because I grew up in a wealthy neighborhood and wasn’t wealthy,” he said. , I developed a passion for exotic cars and made friends with wealthy people who wouldn’t mind renting a Ferrari or Lamborghini for a day, a weekend or a week.”

One day, Arie had an idea. He realized that just as he grew up loving these exotic cars, there must be sick and underprivileged children who have the exact same desires.

“I couldn’t afford to donate a lot of money, but I could donate my time. So I called the charity. I started calling, letting them know I had access to nearly every exotic car in the world, and asking if I knew any kids who were going through a difficult time.”

The first callback Aryeh received was on behalf of an 8-year-old girl from Queens who was battling stage 4 cancer who had always dreamed of riding in a Lamborghini. He visited her immediately, with surprising results for her.

“When I see her in her wheelchair looking down at the ground, when she looks up at the bright yellow Lamborghini convertible parked in front of her house, her whole face is the best I’ve ever seen.” “I saw it,” he said. “I put her in the car and drove for 20 minutes. When we got home her mother started crying hysterically. Diagnosed with cancer, she has endured more than 20 surgeries and said it was the first time she had seen her smile since she was first diagnosed.

Aryeh was amazed at the impact that something as simple as a car could have on children facing the battles of life. He refers to his encounter with the young woman as her one of the pieces of the puzzle that made him who he is today.

“I saw her reaction and thought I should do it more often,” he said.

Another major piece of the puzzle on which his life was based was the series of heart attacks his father suffered. The first seizure occurred when Arie was just 12 years old.

As his father continued to struggle with health problems over the years, Aryeh was also forced to endure the tragic death of his sister, who died after battling a staphylococcal infection. These difficulties, he said, gave him a degree of sensitivity and empathy for the plight of others.

“I know what it’s like to be in the hospital wishing and begging and praying for a loved one to get well,” he said. “So I know exactly what these families are going through. That’s why I can empathize with them so much. That’s why I do what I do.” And that’s why I’m so passionate about it.”

The superhero aspect was incorporated after Arie said she saw a 2012 news report about Baltimore philanthropist Lenny Robinson, who regularly visits sick children in a black Lamborghini dressed as Batman. In 2015, Josh was heartbroken to learn that Robinson had unfortunately died in a car accident, prompting him to assume the mantle of Batman in his place.

“I never got the chance to meet Lenny, but I was inspired by what he was doing. “That’s why I became Batman and continued his legacy.”

But as Smiles Through Cars attracted more and more volunteers, superheroes of all kinds joined Aryeh’s team, including Batman, Robin, and Superman. Plus, with princesses and dinosaurs, Smiles Through Cars can uplift your child’s mood and lift their spirits, no matter what your child likes.

“Sometimes it’s the car, sometimes it’s the costume, but the real goal is to be there, spend time with the kids, empathize with them and their families, and help them.” he said.

Arie says taking the time and effort to transform into a Dark Knight and fulfilling the wishes of children facing adversity has been the most rewarding experience of his life and he looks forward to continuing it for years to come. He said he was doing it.

“We are happy to know that we are there for these families. Many families we have visited over the years … literally tens of thousands,” he said. rice field. “How I feel is literally putting into words the feeling that goes through when someone says you helped a child get over it, or that we gave them at least the last smile.” Allowing parents to see their children smile one last time is literally worth all the money in the world.”

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