Fatima's Heart

Listen to the Rhythm of my Heart!

Inspirational writers wanted!

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Are you a motivational speaker, a volunteer, a teacher, a life coach or a mentor? Do you love inspiring others? Do you make a powerful impact in someone’s life? Do you know someone who is changing lives? If yes, get in touch with me.

I need guest bloggers to write an inspirational post on what ever topic they wish, every week starting August 2015. It can be a life story, an achievement or an on-going effort that helps improve lives of the community.

This is is a project of Cyber Kiwanis, a volunteer based service club, based in Central Valley, California.

I am accepting posts starting today. The post has to be between 600-1000 words and will be published on the official blog and website of Central Valley Cyber Kiwanis. The guest post can be emailed at effess82@gmail.com . If the post is honoring  somebody’s achievement, it can also be featured as “Community Friend” on our website.

Thank You.

Hope to hearing from you soon. Ciao!

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Selfish Reasons to Volunteer

Ok, we all know the drill, the self-less reasons to volunteer; to help others, to be grateful for what we have and give back to the community, to be kind and generous, to perform a charitable work and fulfill our civic duty and so on and so forth. Today I am going to write about various SELFISH REASONS why one should consider volunteering for a cause, for any cause!

1. To take a break:
Everybody needs a break, once in a while, from their daily rut of life. Whether you are a student, a professional or a home maker. Life can sometimes become very hectic and sometimes too boring. That’s when we look for a change, a vacation, to get away from studies, work, home, family and the same old stuff with nothing new to do. Well, here is what you CAN do! Volunteer! Keeps you happy, healthy and active.

2. To stay out of trouble:
With the Summer vacations full on, sometimes it is difficult to find things that keep kids and youth busy and involved. It is important to keep them engaged in some healthy activity, that not only keeps them out of trouble, but also nurtures their full potential. Finding meaningful projects in which they not only help others, but themselves too, is what we want to achieve here. And it doesn’t cost anything, just a will to accomplish something. Do good and stay safe. (Click here to see what you can do this Summer)

3. To kill depression:
A lot of people suffer from some kind of depression and mental stress. Causes can be many but an effective way to control the negative feelings is to create satisfaction, gratitude and give a purpose to life. Most of the people do not realize how blessed they are, even if they are in an unfortunate condition. Most people do not know how they can change the way they feel and perceive things by just helping others. And let me tell you, it works. Volunteering really helps you get out of the blues. It cheers you up, builds your self-esteem and self-confidence, helps you heal and move on, gives you a reason to smile and a purpose to life.

4. To connect:
You’re looking for a job, need field and/or hands on experience and perfect references to build your resume, want to connect with businesses and companies that need you, create relationships that can benefit you in the long run…well there you go. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people who can guide you. It’s perfect for long term friendships who also mentor you on the way. In today’s world, whatever you do, it is important to socially network with people who have similar interests as you do. Volunteering gives you the ground to interact with people who share your interest.

As one volunteers and spends time helping others, it not only boosts emotional wellbeing but also encourages self-discovery of the potential one has. And once a person can identify what exactly brings self-contentment, that is where the journey to self enlightenment begins.

First published on 6-21-2015 at: http://www.cvckiwanis.bravejournal.com/entry/149495#EdI6GiMcDQ2JVrDk.99

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Bring the Goodness Out in You…find out about Kiwanis today!

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We are all born with goodness within us. That is why children are pure, innocent, honest and straight up front. Their innocence is their essence, their goodness! As they grow older, life, surroundings and experiences teach them how to manipulate, to defend themselves and to do things that may not always be right, but they do it anyways.

We are all born different. None of us chose to be born in a certain house, on a certain continent and yet we see so many injustices happening in the world around us. We see lack of tolerance and empathy. People giving more importance to their own ‘self’ than others, trying to enforce their own opinions and forgetting others have equal rights on this planet as they do.

Kiwanis is a platform that tries to bring the goodness out in people. Do good and feel good. Kiwanis’ clubs all around the globe have been bringing people together to work towards creating a positive world, spreading tolerance and empathy for others, teaching us to think beyond our own selves and fostering a loving, caring and productive environment for everyone. It all starts one person at a time, starting from our own self, then the people around us and then the people beyond. We cannot change the world without changing ourselves. We cannot create tolerance without acceptance, without getting into the shoes of others.
Read the whole post at: http://www.cvckiwanis.bravejournal.com/entry/148322#eF5RbK5Jtsckt8Rx.99

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Art of Giving

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Channeling empathy with optimism to achieve altruism is an “art” in itself. Making an impact through empathy and optimism, and connecting with the poor and sick, to channel these experiences into making the world a better place, has its own taste and flavor. Empathy tears down barriers and opens up new frontiers for optimism.

Being pre-occupied by our own concerns, puts our focus squarely on ourselves. But if we can attune to those around us, we will sense when they need our help. If we never really see and feel for the people who suffer, the optimism can’t help them. We will never be able change anything in the world.

Although the world looks large, each one of us can play a role in healing and lowering the sufferings of mankind. When people have a need, and they do, don’t turn away from it, turn towards it. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Volunteer, donate, be an activist, raise your voice, extend your hand, take a step and leave an impact.

The dark side of giving; givers tend to burn out when they become selfless. When people put others so far ahead of themselves, that they fail to meet their obligations before assisting others. That’s not sustainable. Effective givers are those who don’t keep scores or expect anything back from people they’ve helped, but who also realize they can’t help everyone every time.

Such givers are selective in three ways. They choose whom they help, being more cautious of takers; how they help, so instead of being jack-of-all-trades givers, they choose one or two ways to help, in a way that they enjoy and in which they excel; and when they help, blocking time first to complete their own priorities and then carving time to help others.

By adopting a who-how-why approach, our giving becomes efficient and energized as opposed to exhausting. We’ll also develop a reputation as having a unique skill instead of just being somebody people can go to anytime. People will respect our time more because they value the specific contribution we make.

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Memberships in Service Clubs (Part 2)

Part Two: Retaining Memberships

Once the aspiring new member decides to join, the first meeting is a crucial step as it is the first impression and deciding factor of whether they will come to more meetings. Establishing the importance of meeting among members is a way to prevent fluctuating, low attendance and diminishing interest among members. Making sure each member feels involved is the key in keeping them.

Communication is one of the major aspects of keeping a club in sync, and is important in developing a successful club.This can help the members feel a part of the club and be a valuable asset to the organization. Hopefully, good ideas will allow them to have consistent interest throughout the year. Set the tone of the club by connecting personally with interested people. Strive to create an environment where members want to be there.

Members tend to attend meetings because of the friends and relationships they have developed with other members. Keep meetings fun and lively. Without mutual respect and appreciation, any club has the potential to fail. Keeping the members coming back is what counts.

It is just the matter of getting over the initial fear, of being in a new setting, with new people. Once the new member feels comfortable, that is when friendships are made and a great time at a club begins.

Create projects that are fun, doable and everybody can participate. Reach out to the members and ask them what they need, what they want. Accommodate them, find things that interests them. Keep in touch frequently, utilize technology; texting, social networking. Make everyone feel needed. They are a part of a service club and every action of their counts. Appreciate them, acknowledge them, most of all commemorate them.

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Memberships in “SERVICE CLUB” (Part 1)

Today I am going to write about “service clubs” and the importance of maintaining memberships to sustain these clubs.

A club is a place where people come together around a common cause or concept. Clubs need to maintain memberships, to keep them running, making sure each member feels involved. Without dedicated members, a club cannot exist. Finding people who have that particular interest, that the club is all about, and having them sign up, can prove to be quite challenging.

Service clubs are volunteer based, non profit organizations whose members either perform direct hands-on community service or raise funds for other charitable organizations. Recent trends have shown a decline in memberships of these service clubs. My goal is to explore ways to gain membership and also retain them. Since it is a very broad topic, I will cover it in two parts.

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Part one: Attracting Memberships

To attract potential members who are dedicated and committed, we need to understand the nature of our probable recruits. Many people are unsure of what they want to do and what they can do and most clubs prove to be intimidating. Many do not feel educated enough to fully participate in a certain club, many do not have the money to pay the membership fee and many fear lack of time and commitment.

An ideal club should be welcoming towards beginners, who are interested in learning. It should have a minimum membership fee and flexible meeting options so people, who are not available at a certain time, can be accommodated. Once people get familiarized with the club, they can get involved in more focused projects that they feel passionate about. Such a club appears to be less intimidating, as it is more open and offers people to discover their own interests. The less limitations a club has on membership, the more members it draws in.

Clubs need to be accessible. Start by searching the club’s page online and one should be able to find general information and how to contact its most current president. Having a continually updated Facebook page, with pictures and information, current events and members willing to talk to new recruits is always very effective. In this way, people on the go can keep in touch, anytime, all the time.

Every club does their very best to appear welcoming and appealing, but gaining new members is a constant challenge. Invitation based recruitments, word of mouth, recruiting events, info fairs, social networking and advertisements are different ways to let the word out.

Invitation based recruitment establishes a sense that a person’s presence is truly desired so that the new person truly feels welcomed and important. It affirms that the club is legitimate and it instills a personal tie into the group.

Word of Mouth is the most effective way of recruiting members. Members talking to non-members, peers, community people, passing on information about the club, sharing their excitement, showing what they do best and sharing their activities and skills.

Displaying effective club activities and exciting events is also very effective. People will naturally be more interested in a club if it displays active and interesting events.

Advertisement is a great way for the clubs to catch the eyes of new members. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, emails, posters at events, tabling at vendors and booths at fairs are all ways to advertise. With current members on Facebook, they are able to send out invites to friends who they think would like to join the club. On Facebook, the members can post information about their clubs and answer any questions. It is basically a team work.

Event recruiting is also a method used by different clubs that works in creating a larger membership base. Once you have impressed a potential candidate enough that he is willing to attend your club’s meeting, then starts the second phase.

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A Mission Abroad

It’s been a while since I’ve been active on this blog, my apologies, but I was out of country visiting my parents. It was a long, fun and tiring trip (it’s funny how vacation trips are always more tiring than the mundane life), but at the end of the day…it was to see my mother and that’s a mission accomplished!

Much has happened with Cyber Kiwanis while I was away. A mid-year Cal-Nev-H North Convention in Monterey, a bowl-a-thon for Special Olympics, a St. Paddy’s Dinner and Dance by Visalia Pride Lions, donation of over 400 books to the First Lady’s Project and not forgetting, upcoming next week, our Kiwanis One Day project, cleaning up the Civic Center, park area in Hanford. Now that’s going to be fun. Members and Key clubbers will also be collecting (and counting) cigarette butts from that non-smoking ground as part of a study being conducted by the health department.

And while I was away, I had the chance of attending a meeting of Karachi Club of Kiwanis (www.kiwanis.org.pk) and meet it’s pioneer Mr. Javed Jabbar and the President, Past President, Vice President and Secretary of the club. It was a very pleasant meeting. A guest speaker, Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Afridi, a psychologist and behavioral specialist, talked about behavioral patterns in children and adolescents. It was a very informative session.

We were also invited to the Karachi Down Syndrome Program (KDSP) Carnival, that was held on 22nd March, 2015, to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day. It was a very happening carnival with a huge turn over and many fun activities arranged for children with and without disabilities.

I had also managed to take with me 72 dictionaries to donate, considering baggage weight limits when you’re traveling Internationally, but thankfully I was able to have them delivered to the right people.

Zindagi Trust Foundation (www.zindagitrust.org) strives to reform already existing public schools and also has a ‘Paid to Learn’ program for children who work.

The foundation took over the management of a government girl’s school in November 2007 and documented the process with the objective of creating a blueprint for government school reform. Throughout the project, the foundation worked closely with the Education Department, lobbying the government to institutionalize the policies they introduced, so that schools across the province could benefit from them. It’s important to note here that most of the good schooling in Pakistan, at Primary and Secondary level, is being provided by private schools. The government or public schools are mostly neither well maintained nor well equipped. Hence the low rate of enrollment and high rate of primary school drop out.

Their ‘Paid to Learn’ program recruits children who work in the urban slums of Pakistan and enrolls them in an accelerated non-formal curriculum of primary education. The children get paid for attending school. This helps the children, toiling in car-repair shops & other general stores, see a window out of child labour; empowers them as responsible and more complete future citizens of a young Pakistan, all the while making a dent in the country’s literacy rate.

I feel happy that I was able to contribute in this mission of alleviating illiteracy in Pakistan. As they say, drop by drop becomes a river. Each and every drop has its own weight. Each drop makes a difference. And that is what we should all do, continue putting in our drops any time and every time. Then only will we see its impact on the society as a whole.

KARACHI CLUB OF KIWANIS MEETING PICTURES

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Serving Without Boundaries

How I ended up being a volunteer member of Cyber Kiwanis! Thank you Joanne for giving me the opportunity to express myself. Highest regards.

Joanne Guidoccio

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Dr. Hina Fatima sharing her story of a fulfilling life of service.

Here’s Fatima!

As a young girl growing up in a metropolitan city of Pakistan, my parents always inculcated into me that I have to become a doctor when I grow up. Ah! A doctor! A very honorable profession that is not only internally satisfying but provides selfless service to the people. A rigorous course of education of seven years followed by an equally tenacious house job of one year, the sleepless nights at the civil hospital general wards and the consistent emergency calls at the OR…life as a medical student was a test of perseverance and determination.

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When I graduated as an MD, the triumph my parents felt, could be seen on their faces. As I ventured into the clinical field, I realized this was it! My life serving…

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Keep the conversation going…

There are many non-profit organizations that need volunteers and donations all the time. Every year, we see new set of faces helping out. In the face of growing population on the planet, more non-profits are emerging and more people are donating their time and efforts, every day, to change lives. And yet service organizations are suffering and losing memberships. If I can go to the Food Bank or the Salvation Army and spend time, make a financial contribution on an individual basis, why would I join a service club?

READ THE REST AT MY OTHER BLOG….“Getting Together”.

Volunteering is a great opportunity to model good values and have important conversations. Keep The Conversation Going, Join a Service Club Today!

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The Impact…changing lives!

Kiwanis Club of Karachi was chartered in 2002 and has 32 members at present. It is the sole functioning entity in Karachi, Pakistan that provides free early intervention services to children with Down Syndrome and counseling services to their families. These children have a potential of functioning independently and getting involved in mainstream schooling with remedial teachers. They also learn active vocations that help them secure a comfortable future.

Prof. Jamal Ara, an endocrinologist by profession is the President of Kiwanis club of Karachi. She is also a member Al-Dua Association in Karachi, which is a welfare organization, founded in 2010, dedicated to improving the lives of the poor by helping them acquire financial independence and long-term economic self-sufficiency. The association runs an ‘Early Intervention Program’ for children with disabilities and also provides training to the physical, occupational and speech therapists.

‘Rising above Down Syndrome’, an article published in 2009 in Daily times tells us about Dr. Jamal’s daughter and her talent. Click here to read more….

I had the honor of talking to Mr. Ali Allawala, a Kiwanian at heart, VP of Karachi club of Kiwanis (in Pakistan) and founder of Karachi Down Syndrome Program (KDSP) about his life changing moment and wish him all the best in his future endeavors. Visit our page, ‘Community Friend’ to read what he had to say.

Karachi Down Syndrome Program (KDSP) is an organization formed by a group of affected parents and passionate individuals advocating the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down Syndrome living in Karachi and to provide them with the opportunity to lead fulfilling lives.

You can follow the activities of KDSP on Facebook here.

If you are interested in supporting Al-Dua Institute or KDSP, contact Mr. Ali at ali@kdsp.org.pk

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