Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) fellow readers and blogger extraordinaire,

We’re a little bit tardy in posting re-caps from our past two events (that is what the combination of final exams, working on two Master’s theses, and sleep deprivation gets you). Our apologies for making you wait days on end for these can’t miss re-caps. Fortunately Salah was kind enough to post pictures earlier this week from our End-of-Semester Partaaaay. Today, we’re going back in time to a special event that took place on Saturday, November 26, 2011. This event (entitled “Parents Appreciation Event”) was organized and conducted in conjunction with our sisters from ICAN Youth Foundation (sisters youth group).

The event was a day to honor and thank our parents and extended family members (here’s looking at you mom, dad, grandpa, grandma, uncle, auntie, cousins…) for the enormous amounts of love, compassion, free stuff, and advice they have provided each one of us throughout our lifetime. It was a time for our youth to put into action lessons they had learned on family values a few months back (part of our ongoing efforts to allow our youth to put their faith into action). This event took several weeks to plan and our youth had to maintain the utmost secrecy to ensure details of the event didn’t leak out to their parents (didn’t want to minimize the “WOW” factor). What exactly went down in the Tippecanoe County Public Library McAllister Rooms (location where the event was held)? We hope the pictures below tell a beautiful tale.

As our families entered the room, they were greeted with an amazing scene of tales from years past – the “Memory Wall.” The “Memory Wall” contained drawings (made by our 5-9 year old youth) and short stories (from youth ages 8 and up) where our young men and women described a favorite family memory they had shared in the past. There were scenes from theme/amusement parks (popular choice we must say), trips to Disney World (seemingly every other story was about Disney World, come on people), and family portraits (these were a bit interesting to say the least).

Our "Memory Wall" full of memories and precious family time from days yonder...ahh to go back in time to Disney World.

The lengthy walk down memory lane continues. How many youth are there on this seems endless?!

More pictures and short stories from the "Memory Wall." Can you find the ferry Yahya drew?

The end of the walk down memory onto the festivities!

Our families carefully perused through the images and stories on the “Memory Wall” before the aroma of sweets and snacks overtook their nostrils. Slowly they saw in front of their eyes plates of mini-pizzas, fata’ir (bread with cheese or stuffed spinach), cookies, brownies, truffles, chocolate-dipped pretzels, cheesecake, and so much more. These dishes were all carefully prepared in secret by our youth (okay with some assistance from the mentors/counselors) on Friday. To wash the food down, we provided a hearty dose of real Capri Sun fruit juice (with no high fructose corn syrup, yippee!).

The long table full of goodies our youth made. Go ahead and grab a plate and try some food. No we're serious, grab a plate!

The cookie monster, Ali, sneaks a piece of bread onto his plate. In case you were wondering what was in that delicious cheesecake the ingredients are front and center. Umm cheesecake, how we love thee!

Just so we're all on the same page, Muhammad doesn't like to be disturbed when he's eating; meanwhile the parents slowly start to make their way to their seats. Come on people, we have a show to get to!

Amr wishing everyone peace, Muhammad seems to have enjoyed his plate of food, Amine nervously practicing his speech once more in his head, and our aunties look ready to start the program. Let's go!

Food is running out - quick grab a pizza before it is too late! By the way, is it just us or does that tray of food not look stunning with the red tissue liner? Fabulous...simply fabulous.

As the adults gleefully chomped down on the variety of dishes before them, their eyes slowly glanced upward to see a “Thank You” banner signed by many of our youth for their family members.

In the background our "Thank You" banner waves majestically...okay so it is fixed to a wall with thumb tacks but a brother can dream right?

Eventually everyone was seated (let’s just say this took a bit longer than expected) and the program began. Br. Ihsan opened the event with a recitation from the Qur’an (Surah Al-Isra, Verses 19-24). These verses set the tone for the afternoon and provided a wonderful reminder about the great responsibility our Creator has bestowed upon us when it comes to our relationship with our parents. After Br. Ihsan’s recitation, the family members were surprised with a special gift from their children. Our youth helped put together a short video tribute for their parents which cannot be properly explained in words. You’ll have to see the video to truly appreciate what our youth did:

Dads/Babas/Abus/Daddies enjoying the video tribute. Hey everyone look - Danyal's the star of the show! Okay he was one of many stars but for some reason our camera caught him in this photo.

Moms/Mamas/Ammis/Mommies watching the video tribute attentively; somewhere in the background I think we hear sniffles and tears being shed. In all seriousness the video tribute was that heartfelt.

A special shout-out and jazakum Allahu khairan go out to Br. Cem and Br. Adlet for helping to capture and edit the video above.

Once the video was finished being viewed and the parents gently wiped away the tears from their eyes (yes the movie is quite touching), the main presentations began. Our mini-men (from the ISGL Youth Group) and parakeets (from ICAN Youth Foundation) presented pictures they drew for their families. Since many were a bit shy to step-up on stage, Br. Ihsan was kind enough to lend the mini-men a hand with their presentations; Sr. Meganh and Sr. Ayyantu were kind enough to lend a hand to our young sisters with their presentations. After the presentation was over, each child gave their family members in attendance a gift of boxed truffles to take home as a small thank you.

Below is a link to a PowerPoint file containing drawings from our youth. We hope the drawings put as big of a smile on your face as they did on our guests.

Parents Appreciation Event – Youth Drawings

After the 5-8 year-old youth presented (okay so it really was the mentors who presented but the youngins’ did all the hard work drawing), our older youth took the storm by stage. One by one, our youth displayed their creativity by presenting poems, short stories, nasheed, and open letters to their family members. These presentations provided a great mix of tearjerkers and hearty laughter.

The Kaakeh sisters share a series of thoughtful poetic tributes to mama and baba.

Alizey shares a powerful story on the "One-Eyed Stranger"; to say the least we needed more Kleenex after the story was finished. There were no shortage of wet eyes in the room.

Ahmed and Mohamed can't seem to stop laughing; their poetic nasheed entitled "Parents Are So Cool" to their parents was a big hit.

Omar in the hizzouse tossing some love to mom and dad! Omar had a well-rehearsed poetic rap nasheed (?) for his family.

Above the height of the towering podium Muhammad peaks his head out and shares a cool open letter to his parents (with a little help from his friend Salah). Quote of the afternoon - "thank you baba for helping me with my homework; if it were not for you I would be stuck in first-grade!"

The "Burger King tandem" Ali and Amr with poetic words of compassion and thanks for their parents.

Essa telling his mom how much he loves her biryani and letting his dad know he appreciates the lesson on lawn mowing; meanwhile our friend Hamza is smiling from ear to ear for some reason. By the way, Hamza wants to let y'all know that he loves Chuck E. Cheese's...yeah that's about it.

Mujtaba, Murtaza, and Mustafa deliver a moving PowerPoint presentation with a poem for their ammi and abu.

Malik and Asim with a well-rehearsed, awesome poem for their parents. This was a great way to end the afternoon alhamdulillah.

This event was truly one of the most incredible experiences our youth, mentors, and family members in attendance have been blessed to enjoy/take part in their lives. We ask Allah, azza wa jal, to accept from the youth and volunteers our efforts to please Him by pleasing our parents. We ask Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, to make our youth a source of goodness/khair for their parents. We ask Allah, azza wa jal, to grant us the ability to continue to put the principles and teachings of our faith into action in a manner that pleases Him. Ameen!