My name is Laila Maali, and I am one of 10 children. I was born and raised in Syracuse, NY, and moved to Orlando after getting married to my wonderful husband of almost 17 years. Together we have three amazing boys. I have been involved with different nonprofit organizations for about 10 years, mostly working with children who have cancer and muscular dystrophy.
I became aware of GiveLight’s work through my cousin, Fatima who leads GiveLight Maryland. Through social media, she posted about what GiveLight does for the orphans around the world. This sparked an interest in me as I loved the idea of being a light to orphans. This spark led me to not only becoming the lead for GiveLight Orlando, but also hosting an event to bringing the community together in celebrating and raising funds for GiveLight.
As I discussed my plans for the event with Dian, the founder of GiveLight, there was an instant connection I had with her. Having many phone conversations with her, I felt that she was just a breath of fresh air. How amazing it was for her to turn a tragedy in her life into something so good and so beautiful. Even though Dian and I initially never met, I could understand how she has so much love and dedication for these orphans. This made me even more excited to share GiveLight’s work with so many others in the community.
The event was held at our own restaurant, Hurricane Grill and Wings in which many donors sponsored the food. The theme for the event was black and white with roses; roses add a sense of beauty to any place, so I was eager to incorporate them at this event. The event was a major success, we had over 100 people attend and learned about the wonderful work GiveLight does for the most vulnerable beings in our society. I invited many other organizations to attend as well, Latin Gems, Hanan Foundation, and the Health Fair Foundation.
My committee and I had over 40 items auctioned, all from reputable local businesses, including Nominal Jewelry. We also had a big donation from Jesse Maali House of Mercy Foundation, raising a total of about $10,000 all in that incredible night! I have received phenomenal feedback thus far, and with so many people wanting to join the GiveLight family, I truly feel blessed.
GiveLight is helping so many beautiful orphans in so many ways. If I get involved with any organization, it means that I believe in its work, its vision and its commitment. I truly believe in the work that GiveLight does because all the activities are made public via social media, annual report, etc. I see what I’m working with and where the money is going. I love helping anyone in need. If I can just help one person, I will be happy. But helping multiple orphans fills my heart with so much joy. My purpose in life is to help others, and I hope to instill this to my sons as well.
One day, I would love to visit GiveLight homes in any country! I wish for these angels to be happy throughout their lives. I hope these kids will continue their education and make a wonderful life for themselves. We can do as much as we can to help all of these children. It is our responsibility to make these children feel loved and appreciated in this world. I pray they stay happy and safe always!
To see more pictures, click here.