Sunday, January 16, 2005

Students Learn About Generosity, Spread Joy, Jan. 17, 2005

Students Learn About Generosity, Spread Joy
CONTACT: Farhat Siddiqui, Principal
7350 W. 93rd Street
Bridgeview, IL 60455
Phone: 708-599-4100
BRIDGEVIEW, IL - It’s a win-win situation. Students learn first-hand the rewards of generosity while 23 local families will have gifts to give their children during the upcoming Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, a holiday that focuses on giving.
Teachers in Bridgeview’s Universal School expanded their lesson plans this month to include sharing as students from grades pre-kindergarten through twelfth participated in the Eid Family Project. Classes were each assigned a family celebrating Eid al-Adha with that family’s wish-list, and teachers worked with students to get those items. “I first discussed the kinds of gifts my students wanted to receive, and they said the typical Game Boy and all,” said fifth grade teacher Eve Elhrisse, “and then I read to them our family’s wish-list.” The effect appeared both sobering and motivating. Elhrisse said that the students didn’t realize that those with significantly less means would be wanting basic items that are taken for granted, like new underwear. So during their winter break, the students shopped with their parents to buy what their adopted families wished for.
The students’ response was overwhelming. Students not only brought in the items they promised to buy through splitting the cost with classmates, but they purchased more things on their own. From toys, to winter jackets, to cake mix for celebrating, the students seemed to think of it all. This week, these gift-wrapped items will be delivered to three charitable organizations that provided the crucial link between family and school.
The Bosnian-Hertzogovenia Community Center, Masjid Tawheed, and Arab-American Family Social Services will deliver the gifts to families located throughout Chicagoland. The community center, located in Northbrook, will deliver the gifts to families located in north Chicago while the Masjid Tawheed, a mosque on Chicago’s southeast side, will deliver to families living in that area. The social service agency will give to families located in Chicago’s southwest suburbs.
Organized by the school’s Mothers’ Club, the idea originated in Bridgeview’s Mosque Foundation where a group of girls in the past delivered wish-list items to local families to make their Eid al-Adha more enjoyable. “We thought that through Universal, the same can be done on a larger scale,” Mothers’ Club President Nada Jabri said. Their goal was to help students, “bring happiness to others during the holiday.”
Was this goal met? As second grader Adam Ahmad astutely stated, “I’m happy because I’ll be giving clothes which will make them (the family members) happy because they will be getting clothes.”
In addition to helping local Muslims have a more enjoyable holiday, Universal School is also participating in a project to help their neighbors in the Chicagoland area. Sponsored by ten local Muslim charity organizations, 50,000 pounds of beef will be donated to and distributed through the Greater Chicago Area Food Depository to needy families regardless of religion, race or ethnicity. This program, a first for Chicago Muslims, is to help alleviate the hunger faced by fellow Chicagoans struggling to meet their family’s need for food.
While teaching their students reading, writing and arithmetic prepares them to become better individuals, the school’s teachers hope that teaching about generosity will make their students become better citizens.