A local handyman, known for offering his services free of charge, has pledged $1,000 to purchase school supplies for single mothers. And his effort has inspired others to chip in their own money to support the project.
In order to carry on the tradition of charity and generosity of his father, Sam Levin, a successful businessman who was tragically murdered by a former associate in 2011, Albert Dashevsky began offering to help his neighbors do work around the house for free. Word of Dashevsky’s services spread on social media and soon he began traveling throughout southern Brooklyn to lend a hand to those in need.
Levin might not have been Dashevsky’s biological father, but he was a true dad in every other way. Dashevsky said he aspires to be the same “go-to” person for those in need as a way to honor Levin’s memory.
“He was always giving, right up until his death. He was donating a lot to synagogues and people in need. A lot of people would come to him for advice,” Dashevsky said. “Every single time I go to somebody’s house to help, it’s always in memory of him.”
Dashevsky, who calls himself a “tool junky” and is licensed in security cameras, home theater, alarm systems and home renovation, was encouraged by his uncle to use his talents to help others as a means of coping with his father’s death.
It was while working in people’s homes, many of whom were single mothers, that Dashevsky said he was inspired to give even more. With the first school day on the horizon, he decided to help single mothers buy school supplies.
“Most of the time while I’m working, there are kids around. And they are jumping around while I’m putting something together or playing with my tools or something. And once it got to September, there were a lot of conversations about school getting closer. So this just stuck in my head,” he said.
Dashevsky initially planned to contribute $500, which would provide 10 single moms with school supplies. But after he posted his project on social media, he said the response was enormous, so he increased the amount to $1,000 to help 20 single moms. He said messages have been pouring into his inbox. Many people have nominated their friends and others have pledged to help out with their own money. Dashevsky said he expects the total pool could reach $1,500 when the winners are selected in a raffle at the end of the week.
“I really didn’t expect so many people to email me. So I’m still figuring things out. I’m probably going to put the names in a hat and pick people at random,” he said.
Marianna Stern, who lives in Bensonhurst, said she nominated her best friend, Dina, who has been in between jobs and struggling to raise two young kids since her husband and high school sweetheart passed away two years ago. A year before he died, both his brother and his best friend, who was the godfather of their son, passed away, she said. And last month, Dina’s husband’s father died, leaving her 11-year-old son with few male figures to look up to.
“She’s just had tragedy after tragedy and yet her kids are still so amazing,” Stern said of her friend. “And she’s still an optimistic person. She’s the kind of person who will go out of their way for anybody.”
Stern, who said she has never met Dashevsky and heard about the raffle on Facebook, explained that she hopes to surprise her friend, if she wins, and so asked not to publish Dina’s last name.
“I wish I could help her myself but I don’t have the means,” Stern said.
Staten Island resident Polina Khazina, who has also never met Dashevsky in person, explained that she was inspired by his story. She pledged $200 towards his cause.
“I’ve always believed in paying it forward and I really liked Albert’s effort and what he was doing for this community,” she said. “I really want to see more people do the same thing. Once one person starts, then another one starts, and then it spreads like fire.”
Dashevsky said he’s still deciding whether to award the winners with cash or to buy them gift cards for an office supply store.
If you would like to enter the raffle, nominate a friend, or donate money, email Albert Dashevsky at firstname.lastname@example.org.