Alum of the Month
Alum of the Month: Rehab Ghasim
Being part of this Council was really eye opening for me because I began to realize that there are many different issues, opinions and perspectives around a problem, and that my experience isn’t the only one that counts.
What did you do at Mikva Challenge?
I was a member of the Safety Council at Mikva which was basically a group of young people from different schools meeting to share ideas and perspectives on improving school safety. Being part of this Council was really eye opening for me because I began to realize that there are many different issues, opinions and perspectives around a problem, and that my experience isn’t the only one that counts. For example, I might have been worried about gang activity in my school but the other kids were worried about safety rules being used against them and not for them. This variety of perspectives helped us form great recommendations and we were lucky enough to present these recommendations to Michael Shields (CPS Security Chief).
I was also part of the Issues to Action club at my school (Theodore Roosevelt High School) and attended the WTTW Mayoral Forum in 2011 with Mikva.
What have you been up to since Mikva?
I’ve been working with the Albany Park Neighborhood Council for a long time. I started out with mentoring High School youth as part of the VOYCE program but got invloved in a bunch of other activities. We just launched Bike N’ Roses which is a cool program to promote biking and employing young people. They recently nominated me as a board member there.
I’m also a student at UIC where I’m majoring in Neuroscience but I also want to learn some Law. My dream is to do something with both Neuroscience and Law.
How has the Mikva experience formed who you are today?
What got me really attached to the Albany Park Neighborhood Council (APNC) and Mikva Challenge was that it was a family kind of an environment. It really feels like you’re working with your best friends to create something impactful.
Mikva Challenge helped me to not just become more knowledgeable about safety and other issues that youth face in the city but also gain new friends and mentors. Both my knowledge and perspective grew tremendously.
Moreover, being part of the Safety Council educated me on safety issues faced by CPS students and how we need to do something about it. I remember people on the Council talking about their friends being shot on the weekend, it was really bad. Before Mikva, I didn’t even know that things are so bad. My friends stories and doing all the research moved me to think about CPS and issues within schools, and it also made me realize that I shouldn’t limit my thinking or my decisions to what I’m going through, I should consider what others are going through and their perspectives. I think that is the only way you make a recommendation that is worth something. It was a great experience.
Photo by Jonathan Gibby