Families with young children, grandparents all set with their t-shirts and water bottles, girlfriends in groups, the youth in their latest Nikes, the athletically blessed who were excited to beat their records from the previous year — all came early in the morning with a desire to chase the light.
Some have been chasing this light for 10 years, while others have only recently realized that GiveLight is the essence of what we all want for our children – a safe home, the comfort of being part of a family, and support to be our best selves.
GiveLight supports orphans all around the world wherever there is a need. GiveLight creates homes – not orphanages, not hostels, not halls. These are homes where children who have lost a loving parent and have no one can find a warm bed, a caring family, and adults who are eager to make sure that the child receives the best education, one of Islamic teachings that reflect our Prophet’s Sunnah and what we all want for our own children.
Walkathon is a great reflection of what this organization stands for. You are part of a family. It is not meant to be an organization you write a check to once a year – it is a family you are eager to see whenever you get a chance. In this family, you get to be a part of World Cuisine, where our volunteer chefs showcase their culinary talents; biking across the Golden Gate Bridge to appreciate the great beauty of our blessed land; sipping tea and reading poetry with other supporters (because Rumi does wonders for the heart). Walkathon allows GiveLighters (a title bestowed upon all who come to embrace the Light) to gather not only to demonstrate our ability to run a 5K or 10k, but it is a time we all look forward to seeing familiar faces, oohing and aahing over the new baby, congratulating the young adult heading off to college, discussing where next we will be seeing each other – all the while enjoying the bounty of fruits, bagels with cream cheese, juice and coffee that the hard-working volunteers set up for nus at the crack of dawn!
You can see the labor of love each volunteer puts in to make sure the event runs smoothly from start to finish. Countless hours of preparation have gone into ensuring that we all receive our t-shirts with nametags, that the check-in process is smooth, and that the lines do not take so long that we cannot mingle prior to the race.
Chase the light, the light that enters your heart to make it full, and then pass it on. This light keeps many children around the world fed, educated and warm, from the Syrian refugee child who had to flee his home with nothing but the clothes on his back, to the young lady in Aceh who eleven years ago was not sure where her next meal would come from but today has an education and a career and is lending a hand to make sure another child is loved and supported just like she and many like her were in the
Next time you see Dian, founder of GiveLight, ask her, “How can I chase the Light?” You might just be surprised by how your heart feels once you hold the hand of a person who holds onto the hand of another, all to spread the Light of love, kindness and knowledge.