Not everyone is religious, but even the nonbelievers may have a phrase saved for that moment of need to communicate with the supreme power. I happen to have two. My more selfish prayer is, “Dear God, grant me that, which suits me best.” But when I really want to be good, I say, “Dear God, if I can help someone in this life, show me the way.” Looking back, I’m amazed at how well received my worthless words have been.
Recently, I attended a fundraising by International Society for Children with Cancer (ISCC) for MAHAK. I admit I didn’t know much about these organizations. I could blame such ignorance on a number of excuses, but my ultimate comfort came from the fact that it’s never too late. I have since learned that ISCC is an affiliate of MAHAK, one of the best children’s cancer centers in the Middle East that for years has offered free treatment to thousands of needy children. (For more information, please visit iscc-charity.org)
During the evening, as clips were being shown about these children, kids whose lifeline is directly connected to the generous donations to ISCC and MAHAK, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. How could one not be touched by those soulful eyes or the voice that said, “I will be a doctor/ a teacher/ a scientist when I grow up?” It is your generous donations that will ensure this phrase can begin with the word “when” instead of “if”.
Iran is a big country and Iranians are a diverse nation. However, the one trait that most of us share is an incredibly big heart. We learned the art of giving from our generous parents and through watching how they reached out to the needy. The memory is so vivid that to this day it guides us to be there for those in need and pass this wonderful legacy to the next generation.
I am reminded of a distant visit to an orphanage in Tijuana. The place is a favorite of mine to visit, especially around Christmas. That day, I was taking them the beddings that I had sewed for their baby cribs. My son, a teenager at the time, accompanied me to help with the heavy boxes. At the end of our visit, I asked Mother Superior if they needed anything more. She shook her head and said in Spanish, “These are kids. They always ask for more food.” I checked my wallet and gave her what money I had on me. “Please buy them more.”
To my surprise, my son – who knew enough Spanish to understand – dug into his pocket and took out the money his father had just given him for a guitar. “Buy them some from me, too!” he said. Looking back, I doubt if there has ever been a more proud mother!
Indeed our children will grow up to do as we have done. The ISCC program, Ghollak Shekan, is a brilliant way to teach young children the joy of charity and it benefits us on many different levels. Not only is it a great way to involve the entire family and familiarize the young with another Persian tradition, but it will also show them how to reach across the globe and touch the life of another child. This may be our best chance to teach young Iranian-Americans that they don’t need to live in Iran to be connected to other Iranian children. Above all, it will assure parents that indeed, an apple does not fall far from the tree.
Be the lifeline to a child who hasn’t been as fortunate as yours and give your own child a legacy you can be proud of. Please mark your calendars for the Orange County
Ghollak Shekan and Family Fun Festival at: Turtle Rock Community Park
1 Sunnyhill Dr, Irvine, CA 92612
Saturday, September 10, 2011
11:00 am - 5:00 pm. For more information please call @ 949.679.9911
Zohreh Ghahremani is the author of Sky of Red Poppies & an artist. She will offer face painting for children at this event.
Zohreh Ghahremani is the author of Sky of Red Poppies, winner of One Book, One San Diego 2012
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