As a senior in SAR High School, hearing the words “Senior exploration” could mean a variety of different things, an internship, a creative project, a research paper… etc. Pretty much senior exploration takes place during May, and it is for a senior to “explore” things that he or she might be interested in, to get a broader perspective of the “real world” and learn how to work with other people in a professional setting. For me, I knew that I wanted to do something cool and different and something that I probably would not have done if it was not for this opportunity. I thought a bit about what could be meaningful to me and immediately it came to me.

I was going to start a podcast for children who have lost a parent at a young age. The reason that this was meaningful to me was because I lost my father (David Jasper-Brody z”l) to cancer when I was eight years old. I tried to think back to my eight-year-old self and asked myself what would be meaningful to see when I was going through such a difficult time. For me, the words “I know what you are going through” and “It will be okay” don’t mean anything to me if the person who is speaking the words did not go through what I was going through. I appreciated the support, but I felt that a person couldn’t understand what I was going through, and how could they? Thank G-d, they didn’t lose a parent when they were so young. As I began to grow, I realized that I was not the only one who went through losing a parent at a young age. There were a few people in my very community who lost a parent that my family began to befriend. These people and I did and still do have a connection that no one else can relate or connect to unless they too have lost a parent at a young age. That brings me to the point of this podcast, to connect children and young adults who have lost a parent at a young age, to give them a space to speak or to listen to other people who have experienced similar things to them, to give them comfort and create a community. The podcast is called “The Letter S” referencing the letter S at the end of the word “parentS” people feel that the word parentS is too casually said. Not everyone has PARENTS some people just have a parent, and for me when someone asks me about my parents, in the plural each time it is a reminder of what I do not have, which I talk a lot about in the podcast. I have had the honor of having four different people who have lost a parent at a young age come to speak about their own experiences which were amazing and has made my relationship with each person stronger. Leah Fenster, age 20, from Riverdale, New York, whose father passed away when she was ten years old, said that being interviewed on this podcast “made her realize how much she has really gone through.” She admitted that she initially was surprised that she said yes to participating but is happy that she did. Joe Gross, age 20, living in Queens, whose father passed away when he was six years old, spoke about the experience of being part of this podcast. When asked how it was to talk about these things he said “He really likes speaking about them and expressing how he felt and what he went through because not everyone goes through this and understands. He feels that by expressing the challenges he went through and how he dealt with them he will be able to make an impact on others and guide other people to handle their challenges. The people who came and spoke on this podcast were so selfless and want to help. Raphael Jasper-Brody, age 18, from Riverdale, New York, whose father passed away when he was eight years old, said that “He appreciates being on the podcast, even though he does not usually want to talk about these things this platform helped him and made him realize that talking about loss isn’t as hard as it seems.” Although this podcast is geared towards children who have lost a parent at a young age, I knew of a girl named Abby Finkelstein who lost her dad when she was 17, and a senior in high school. I thought that it would be really interesting to hear about her story, especially since it might have been a little different considering she was a bit older. Abby Finkelstein, age 21, from New Rochelle, said that being on the podcast for her was “so important, to be able to share her story with someone who gets it.” Each person’s episode was dedicated to the memory of the parent that they lost. Each person who was interviewed had an amazing story to share and amazing life lessons that they took from their tragedy. The Letter S Podcast can be found on Spotify or Apple podcasts by searching “The Letter S” or by searching Anina Jasper-Brody. This podcast was something that was started because of an assignment but will be continued because I realized how important and beneficial it is to everyone. I believe that although I created this podcast, this podcast created me as well. Feel free to contact me or anyone who was featured on the podcast at the email address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

By Anina Jasper-Brody