Zeinab Fakih was unsure of what to expect when she first volunteered for Women of Hope at Mountainside community center’s Read to Kids event, but it did not involve buying a television.

Kids in the after-school program gathered for her story, engaged in related activities before watching a movie as they shared a snack.

Clutching their plates, the children crowded around a 13-inch computer screen because the center’s big screen TV was broken.

The community center was receiving gradual upgrades as funding became available – the television was low on the list of priorities, the Hope team reported to Zeinab. That’s how she found herself perusing the selection of screens at Best Buy just a few days later.

“A TV might be something we take for granted, but for these kids it makes their day,” Zeinab said. “It makes their experience at the after-school program and with Women of Hope that much better.”

Zeinab became a Women of Hope member in 2021. She has since dedicated her time to the children at Mountainside and Villaggio for monthly Read to Kids events.

Her interest in Hope through Housing was piqued by a nonprofit panel hosted by the Rancho Cucamonga Chamber of Commerce. Zeinab’s family-owned business, Stanley Steemer of the Inland Empire participated in the panel in which she learned about Hope through Housing’s mission. After meeting staff members and attending the Beauty, Bubbles & Bites event dedicated to raising funds for programs that invest in youth, Zeinab committed to the cause.

The programs reminded her of her own parents’ challenges with finances and time management as they juggled family and work demands.

“It reminds me of where I came from,” she said. “By sitting with these kids and listening to them, I hope I can take away some of the stress parents go through because it really does take a village to raise a child.”

Donating and volunteering is a wonderful way to help support the hard-working parents in National CORE communities by using her privilege, she said.

For Zeinab, participating in Women of Hope fundraising events means spreading joy by supporting the Building Bright Futures initiative that sponsors literacy activities, after-school programs and the BBF Scholarship fund. The Read to Kids event is part of Women of Hope’s literacy mission that involves donating books and leading learning activities to foster a love for reading and developing cognitive thinking skills.

Since her donation, the children at Mountainside crafted hand-drawn cards for Zeinab. She proudly displays the tokens of gratitude in her home office.

“I feel like I’ve been able to connect with them so well,” Zeinab said. “Being with them for one hour and giving them time and attention does so much for them overall. I’ve seen their motivation for learning go up; and seeing them be happy makes me happy.”



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