The mood was highly spirited as over a 80 people, mostly families, gathered to join MiNDS at this year’s Neighborhood Outreach Dinner and Celebration. This was the fifth annual event that marked the community development work of MiNDS and the third one held at the Maples Community in Fullerton, Orange County.
This special event was held in honor of the local residents, designed to provide everyone with a much dignified experience and a night out while being served by dignitaries, leaders, social and civic activists that came as volunteers after receiving a special invitation. This allowed the volunteers to develop a repertoire with the attendees and had an opportunity to discuss the specific needs of the families.
Mayor Greg Sebourn noted, “This is true giving, no one is here for an extra credit but to genuinely serve others”.
Chef Bruno Serato from the White House Restaurant in Anaheim catered the event and inspired the audience with his own journey as he worked towards community service. A CNN Hero of the Year, Chef Bruno prepared a gourmet Italian meal for the guests and gave a riveting pep talk to the volunteers as well. Maylana Martin Douglas, a former UCLA and WNBA star (Charlotte) told her story and spent a great deal of time with the youth in the audience that were really touched by her accomplishments.
Dr. Taif Kaissi, President of MiNDS emphatically stated, “I have no faith if it isn’t for the spirit of community service that drives us all”.
“We dearly miss Rev. Bill Miller from last few years who had championed the cause of interfaith relations and brought communities together. He passed away earlier this year but his work is legendary; may God bless him”, said Dr. Faisal Qazi, co-Founder of MiNDS. “Going forward we would follow up with individuals that have identified specific needs and work to provide them support year-long”.
MiNDS Project Manager, Yara Almouradi, raffled gift baskets as the guests enjoyed an evening of fun and relaxation.
Many volunteers were fasting as part of the month of Ramadan and ended their day with breaking of fast while introducing themselves and heard from Berry Ross (St Jude Medical Center, VP of Healthy Communities), Vicky Tamoush (co-Founder, Interfaith Witnesses), and Robert Peterson (Executive Director, MiNDS). Everyone felt emotionally moved and were grateful for the opportunity to serve.
MiNDS is a community development foundation that began as a charitable specialty healthcare organization. The organization is planning to launch child heatlh and nutrition programs in specific neighborhoods.