As parents, we want our children to be grateful for all of their blessings. We want them to realize how truly lucky they are. We want them to see that they are rich in love from family and friends. For the most part, our children know this, but we live in a highly materialistic and self-centered world, where it can be a challenge to focus on those values of gratitude. But it is not impossible.
There are individuals who carry with them a great sense of community service. They are the global citizens who understand what it takes to make a difference in a person’s life. They are thankful for what they have and wish to impart those blessings on others less fortunate. Two such individuals, Maahum Shahab and Cheyaan Jamal, have shown just that and have introduced the GiveLight Foundation to their respected schools. It’s refreshing to see these students strive to raise awareness of the orphans’ plight and to make a true difference in their lives.
Maahum is a sophomore at Dublin High School in Northern California. She is the president of the GiveLight Club at Dublin High as well as the Community editor of her school’s newspaper, The Dublin Shield. She also plays soccer in the Dublin League. When asked what compelled her to start the GiveLight Club at her high school, Maahum stated, “Since I was young, I’ve felt the want and need to engage in things like community service, and do my very best to help people in whatever format possible.” Although she had joined several prominent clubs on campus as a freshman, Maahum felt a need for something more meaningful. “I took it upon myself to create an active, fast paced, goal-oriented service club that would provide many students with the ability to make a change and impact the world as much as they could at this age.” Read more about Maahum, here.
Maahum felt a strong connection with GiveLight due to the goals it set out to achieve and understood the organization to be “genuine, personal and uplifting.” She mentioned, “My mother had heard about the organization through a friend, and we were familiar with its work. I did some research on GiveLight before making the decision. I remember thinking this is the work I want to see done, and this is the type of work I want to be a part of.”
Besides organizing numerous events on and off campus, Maahum is also focusing on how to create a youth participation division within GiveLight. Maahum stated, “The main idea for the youth participation division would be to create a network of young people interested in utilizing leadership skills to benefit the organization and carrying out formal procedures involved in starting up a club in which students apply and are either accepted as GiveLight representatives or not. This would allow for students who are committed, responsible and focused to add to the GiveLight Foundation reputation, and to make sure all resources and materials are being put to good use.”
Maahum explained that the biggest challenge in running the GiveLight Club was the ability to keep people interested. She stated, “I knew from the start that I didn’t want the GiveLight Club to be one of the clubs in which members slowly stopped participating in and weaned off through the course of the year. My officers and I have worked diligently to try to keep people coming to meetings, signing up for events, and staying spirited.”
Cheyaan Jamal, from Southern California, is an Eighth grade student at Foothill Country Day School in Claremont. She is an avid soccer and volleyball player as well as a member of her middle school yearbook staff. Along with starting the GiveLight Club at her school, Cheyaan is also involved in a program geared to helping the elderly learn how to use technology.
“My mom told me about Dian and how she was from Sumatra where the 2004 tsunami devastated the island. We had traveled to Indonesia in 2014, so I had some idea about the environment. She told me about how Dian helped make a home for many of the orphans and how GiveLight began.” After hearing the story and looking into GiveLight’s website, Cheyaan wanted to raise awareness at her school about the orphans. “I began sending information to my school’s administrators about GiveLight. They were so impressed with what GiveLight was all about. They gave me permission to form the club on campus.”
After a few meetings, the Foothill Country Day School administration and Cheyaan planned to have an assembly to introduced Dian and GiveLight to the Foothill Community in November 2016. The focus of the GiveLight Club at Foothill Country Day School is to help the orphans by mentoring and tutoring them by the Foothill students in grades 5-8. Cheyaan stated, “When the students realized they could directly help the orphans by tutoring and mentoring them, they became very excited and wanted to start right away.” In so many ways, the tutoring and mentoring program will empower the students at Foothill by giving them a sense of purpose and to see the world outside of their own. Cheyaan said, “I wanted the students at my school to be aware of what was going on in the world and how grateful we should be for what we have. We have parents who not only love us, but take care of all of our needs. I want the students to know that we can make a difference in people’s lives by reading to them, teaching them English, helping with homework and by being a friend. We want them to feel loved by us.”
Cheyaan plans to start a GiveLight Club at her future high school campus. “I would like to eventually make a service project associated with GiveLight world-wide for high school students and college students. I want students to travel to the orphanages and help in any way they are able. I know it will be amazing.”
We wish these outstanding students great success as they embark on their journeys to bring awareness of the orphans and to GiveLight. Their determination and genuine love for what they do make them shining stars for the GiveLight Foundation.