It has been several weeks since we last had a chance to post a new entry in the ISGL Youth Group blog. With the start and now closing days of the blessed month of Ramadan, our youth and volunteers have been hunkered down in “Ibadah Mode.” We did want to provide a re-cap of an awesome event which took place on Friday, August 12, 2011 (12th day of Ramadan).  This event was the first-ever joint youth banquet, iftar, and awards ceremony between the Big Sisters/Little Sisters Program (our sisters youth group) and the ISGL Youth Group (the brothers youth group).

Our volunteers (we were blessed to have the support of so many outstanding brothers and sisters, many who devoted 6 hours in set-up, decorations, food prep, and clean-up) did a remarkable job getting 4 rooms set-up for the night’s festivities. These four rooms were:

Sr. Meganh instructs the young lads on the art of homemade pudding...why must the adults always miss out on all of the fun?

The Children’s Activity Room. Some of our younger guests struggled to make it through the 3-hour marathon of speeches, food fight (just kidding, we meant iftar/dinner), and presentations. The sisters came up with the brilliant idea of having a small, private area where these youngins’ could get together and have an enjoyable night as well. Activities which the youth partook in included making homemade pudding AND bracelets (not sure if the young guys were into this fashion statement but you’ll have to poll them to find out)!

I must say this necklace is worth more than any piece of jewelry at the local jewelry store. Where else can you find such skilled craftsmanship and creativity?

Youth Poster Exhibit Room. This room contained different posters members of both youth groups created

The throng of community members advance slowly clockwise around the poster exhibit room. Where did all the fathers go?

during July. The posters depicted information about a specific country each individual/team of youth researched during the Muslims Around the World or M.A.P. Project. Each poster was uniquely crafted with pictures, graphs, and short blurbs of information regarding population demographics, common foods, sports played by the youth, how Islam entered the country, and basic traditions relating to how holidays (such as Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha) are celebrated by the Muslims in each respective country. Once again, it must be stated that our youth did a phenomenal job designing and explaining their posters to community members.

Dad is proud of his daughter's poster!

Food Prep Room. There were numerous brothers and sisters who worked behind the scenes at the banquet to make sure each guest was able to enjoy an amazing evening. Many of these brothers and sisters were actively engaged 1-2 hours before the banquet started completing tasks such as warming trays of food, preparing small serving cups of yogurt and chutney, preparing mini-plates of dates and sweets, pouring soda into drink pitchers, and most importantly, making plates of food for the iftar.

Teamwork between volunteers working in the food prep room. I think we're going to need more than just one plate of food Salah.

More teamwork in the food prep room/kitchen. Hey Abish, be careful where you toss that tray!

The heroes of food service led by their unquestioned leader, Br Amjad.

The empty banquet hall before the doors opened. Those glass centerpieces look pretty, no?


Main banquet hall. The main festivities took place in this room. The sisters did an amazing job putting together beautiful decorations for the stage, tables, and room entrance which many of our guests positively commented about. A special tip of the kufi to Br. Adil for his excellent craftsmanship in putting together the glass centerpieces which were on each table.

Close-up shot of the table centerpiece

In case you were not able to attend the banquet, we’ll quickly describe the night’s program to get you up to speed.

Just in case you were wondering what the plan was for tonight...check out the program for more info.

The program began with a beautiful  recitation of Surah Ibrahim, Verses 35-41 by Br. Ihsan. These verses convey the du’aa (supplication) of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham), alayhis sallam, which he made for his offspring.

After the recitation was completed, there were presentations by different members of both youth groups. Sr. Silai and Br. Salah took turns to explain the purpose behind each youth organization (Big Sisters/Little Sisters Program [for the sisters] and ISGL Youth Group [for the brothers]).

Salah turns in his serving apron for a microphone. If you didn't know about the ISGL Youth Group before, Salah made sure you did after his presentation was complete.

Adil took over and explained the first-ever youth camp (at Camp Tecumseh) which was conducted in June for the youth in our community. Sr. Meganh eloquently explained the program and activities which were conducted during the summer for the Big Sisters/Little Sisters Program. Her presentation was followed-up by Br. Haroon’s photo presentation of the ISGL Youth Group July 2011 Halalapalooza Program.

Our emcee, Adil, reppin' the West Side! This dude provided many funny moments to keep our crowd engaged throughout the night.

Eyes intently gaze upward to the big projection screen on stage...who will speak next they wonder?

Amr and Nabeel enjoy a good chuckle during one of the presentations

Mujtaba shares a joke with Essa and Murtaza

Apparently one of the speakers said something that made Adil giggle

After the adults finished talking, the youth took over and shared some touching stories regarding how they have personally benefited from youth programs in the community.  Heya Kaakeh and Hafsa Farooq (both representing the sisters) & Mujtaba Siddiqui and Tassawar Farooq (representing the brothers) each delivered a wonderful, concise talk on their experiences with the youth programs.

Mujtaba reflects about his personal memories of past youth activities

Tassawar tries to entertain the crowd with a story from his youth group experiences

Obviously at this stage, our guests were on information overload. It was finally time for the fast to be broken, Maghrib prayer to be prayed, and iftar to be enjoyed. Our volunteers did a great job coordinating these different activities in a timely fashion. We hope you enjoy the pictures from the youth banquet iftar below:

Plates of dates and sweets wait to be eaten...but they look too good to be eaten

Br. Amir rolls out the water bottles for guests to quench their thirst after a long day of fasting

Hungry guests enjoy good food and, more importantly, great companionship

Uncles enjoying tandoori chicken, veggies, rice, and naan

Moms enjoying the iftar delicacies

When food hits the table, the smiles get bigger and bigger

The little guy on the right needed a little help with his food

Elder youth statesmen enjoy a meal together...that is a lot of chutney for one table

Look, Salah is pulling double duty tonight! Who says leaders can't roll up their sleeves and pitch-in to help out?

Amr is wondering "why is this dude taking my photo from up there?"

Mohamed gives the food one thumb-up. On our scale that means the food was excellent.

Our emcee, Adil, works the crowd with his mad hosting skills. Sadly no food for poor Adil tonight.

Ahhhh peace finally...even our volunteers had an opportunity to enjoy the tasty food for iftar.

After the food fest ended, we finally presented our well-deserving youth their awards for participating in the summer programs.

Our male youth receiving their well-deserved awards after a month of intense competition for ajr.

Our female youth proudly display their hard-earned awards to the camera.

We’ll leave you with one final sweet image. Our youth sisters and their families graciously prepared small bags of sweets as gifts for the guests. These sweets represented the different countries the sisters researched for their poster presentations over the summer. We hope you enjoy (at least visually because all the sweets physically ran out) the nice picture of the gifts below:

Our young sisters made these sweet desserts as gifts for our guests...don't worry, the picture is even making me hungry