Twenty-four youth from Long Island and New York Jamatkhana were presented with this award, signed by the President of the United States, at a ceremony on June 30, 2018 at Great Neck Library, Long Island.

The President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) is a national award that recognizes community service by “encouraging citizens to live a life of service through presidential gratitude and national recognition.”

Democratic Councilwoman Anna Kaplan, who is now a front-runner for NY State Senate was present to bestow this award to the “future leaders” who have served tremendously in their capacities over the last year, earning Bronze, Silver and Gold level awards. She said, “You are future leaders, doctors, may you be all source of joy for your family and your community.” In her speech, she praised the work of Mawlana Hazar Imam and the virtues he stands for.

In the midst of giving the awards, Kaplan with a broad smile added, “one of these days, these young leaders will take my seat.”

Eight-year-old Ziyan’s mother Ameena Bardai from Lake Success Jamatkhana was amazed and happy to see her son who volunteers as a boy scout being recognized.

“Getting an award is a good feeling and a source of great motivation to serve,” says the eleventh-grade senior Shifa Ali, who has been doing community service since she was six-years-old. She adds, “Last year, I did 250 hours of service, and this is the third time I am getting the award.”

Over the last two years, Ismaili Community Engaged in Responsible Volunteering (I-CERV) in the Northeast has served and partnered in over 30 different programs, with over 600 I-CERV volunteers serving in various capacities. Last year, I-CERV youth served over 300 hours in various forms of community service.

“The youngest awardee was a young seven-year-old from the Lake Success Jamatkhana,” says Asif Dhanani, Chairperson for Northeast Aga Khan Youth & Sports Board.

The ethic of service to others is a long-standing pillar of the Ismaili faith, and participating in such activities is one of the ways that we uphold this value. “Service to our communities is an intersection between the ethics and values of our faith and the American collective conscious towards civic engagement,” says Chairperson Dhanani.

I-CERV has been a long-standing outreach program aimed at serving the local community in which they reside. Over the years, these youngest leaders and strongest ambassadors have served the local communities in many ways including:

  •  Partnering with the Township of North Hempstead for the Annual Spring Park Clean-up, where this year over 100 I-CERV volunteers gathered to clean Whitney Pond Park
  •  Working with Boston Cares to create English kits for recent immigrants
  •  Trekking through Manhattan to deliver meals in the cold to homebound seniors in need, with City Meals on Wheels
  •  Volunteering across a variety of roles to support the Annual Richmond Folk Festival, the largest of its kind in America
  •  Preparing meals for the less fortunate at Masbiah in Flatbush
  •  Serving meals on Thanksgiving to over 2,500 individuals with the Giving Heart of Richmond