4th of July, Thaakat had the exceptional opportunity to honor some of our dedicated student leaders. It’s no secret that our campus chapters are a very important aspect to the ongoing success of Thaakat. Every year, hundreds of students all over the nation commit themselves to Thaakat’s mission. While passionately spreading awareness for important causes, leading their own volunteer initiatives, and selflessly fundraising towards a common dream, Thaakat’s student chapters have embodied the epitome of empathy and servitude.
With the gracious vision and sponsorship of Dr. Shahid Yousuf of APPNA, 4 students, Parth Patel from Thaakat Atlanta, Moazzam Khan from UIC Thaakat, and Sidra Ismail and Maha Anwar from Illini Thaakat, had the chance to attend an observership trip at APPNA’s annual summer convention in Orlando, Florida. Students were selected from Thaakat Chapters through a nomination process. Student leaders were able to nominate two deserving candidates from their chapters, whether it be a general member, volunteer, or executive member. The selection process was undoubtedly very difficult, as there were so many deserving candidates. However, after meticulously reviewing nominations, Thaakat national selected recipients based on their overall dedication to service, leadership, vision for the future, and commitment to their chapter.
APPNA, Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America, is the largest democratic Pakistani expatriate charitable organization with 36 years of existence. APPNA members participate in medical relief and charitable activities locally and globally. Its organization stands to show two American realities. One, that which hard work and dedication will lead an individual to attain any dream possible, and the other, to show that APPNA members are cognizant of their humble beginnings.
Dr. Yousuf explains the importance of harmonizing charitable organizations and allowing Thaakat’s young leaders to observe the professional atmosphere of APPNA, “a vehicle must be provided to harness [their] community spirit and charitable activities which change them and make them better human beings”. His advice to young professionals is to understand that success is not only attributed to a monetary value, “Charity may or may not change the recipient but it certainly changes the donor for it makes him or her a better person”.
APPNA has been an avid supporter of Thaakat, participating in the Plumpy Nut Campaign and contributing to two classrooms at Idara Al-Khair Campus III in Kachra Kundi. Dr. Yousuf explains that the reason he chose to sponsor Thaakat volunteers was due to the quality of universal acceptance within the organization, “It has stood the test of time and has some years to its credit. It is secular and non discriminatory. Anyone can join Thaakat.”
Thaakat delegates had the chance to see many exciting performances and lectures during their time in Orlando. Aside from their visit to Universal Studios for a day, they also spent time networking with many other young professionals at the APPNA conference. During the exquisite dinner and entertainment set up on Saturday, they were able to see performances from top Indian and Pakistani entertainers such as, Ali Zafar, Bilal Khan, Bushra Ansari, and Mahira Khan, while enjoying the rest of their company. They also had the honor of meeting with APPNA President Dr. Javed Suleman.
Our campus leaders came back with gratitude and much insight on qualities of humanitarians. “We’re so lucky to have been given the opportunity to attend APPNA 2013 and see the great work these physicians have accomplished. As young leaders it gives us motivation to continue philanthropy based work and go beyond what we think we are capable of. Dr. Yousuf was not only a wonderful host but also a role model. Hopefully one day we are able to attain the same dedication as him!”, Maha Anwar, President of Illini Thaakat. Moazzam Khan, VP of UIC Thaakat, describes Thaakat as not only physical strength, but also the strength which lies within a community, “Having had the opportunity to go to APPNA opened my eyes to a community that is built on that very doctrine, fostering the American Pakistani community and promoting the welfare of others. To see so many committed individuals dedicated solely on serving humanity in every way possible was awe-inspiring.”
Sidra Ismail, Media Head of Illini Thaakat said,“It was a great experience being part of the APPNA 2013 observership, thanks to Dr. Shahid Yousuf and the Thaakat national board. They created such a fun and relaxed trip for the Thaakat members!” Parth Patel, Media Guru of Thaakat Atlanta’s exec board added, “My time in Florida was amazing, I enjoyed getting to know other Thaakat members”.
We are so very honored and humbled by the continued support from Dr. Shahid Yousuf and APPNA. Their confidence in the future of our organization and young professionals fuels our drive for a better tomorrow.