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Creating community through charitable works

Filed in Archive by on March 28, 2018

woman speaking with hand gestures woman speaks to students

Lab School students had the unique opportunity to hear from Fazana Saleem-Ismail as part of their recurring Press Club series. Saleem-Ismail is the chairwoman of the Capital Region Coalition Against Islamophobia.

During her 90-minute visit on March 16, she discussed what it was like growing up in NYC, having friends of all different faiths and how that shaped her experience as a Muslim. She helped to dispel some common myths behind the Islamic faith and shared stories of raising Muslim children in a community like Bethlehem.

The focus of her talk then turned to the opportunity which exists in charitable works for bridges to be built between people of differing backgrounds. Saleem-Ismail founded the non-profit Jazzy Sun Birthdays organization which helps to provide themed birthday parties for young people living in homeless shelters. By serving others who might not be like you, Saleem-Ismail pointed out that any pre-existing barrier to understanding or communication can be dismantled and new opinions can be formed. Several Lab School students have already volunteered to join in the efforts of Jazzy Sun Birthdays and the students valued the experiences that she shared with the group.