By Zienab Fahs, CAIR Michigan
Almost eight weeks ago, we were all wishing for the same two things: to make our responsibilities disappear, and to spend the entire day in pajamas. Well, only one of those wishes came true.
As we collectively settle into this new norm, we can’t help but consider how to make the most of our time. Being at home may seem restrictive, but there are a number of ways we can be productive and support our communities amidst this global pandemic. Here are three to start:
- Utilize Your EXPERTISE
Whether you’re a natural-born artist, or hold a degree in education, now is the time to put your talents and capabilities to good use. Come up with a creative way to offer a service to those within reach:
- Host a live session on mental health awareness
- Share a step-by-step video on how to sew a protective mask
- Offer a virtual tutoring session to someone struggling with a subject you succeed in
homeroomhelpers on Instagram is using her expertise, as a former teacher and certified reading specialist, to equip parents with suggested materials and best-practice strategies on how to aid the development of their little ones while home.
Ask yourself: What is my expertise?
- Utilize Your NETWORK
The average person may not be able to fund PPE for an entire hospital, but there is strength in numbers, and we all have those. Our numbers come from our network: followers on social media, friends and family, professionals on LinkedIn—the list goes on and on.
- Create an online campaign to raise funds for a local hospital, food pantry, etc.
- If your community has an existing campaign providing support, give ANY monetary amount, share their efforts with your network (so your donation can multiply), and offer your expertise or relevant connections to the organizer
- Share and repost CREDIBLE and POSITIVE news so that your network can stay informed and uplifted
Unified Under Hope was started by a local MSU law student in order to raise funds and deliver quality medical equipment to local healthcare workers.
Ask yourself: Who is within my network?
- Utilize Your Right to SELF-CARE
We’ve all heard about self-care, but how seriously do we take it? Help the world by taking care of yourself, first. As my former coworker at Barnes and Noble at my alma mater used to tell me, “You can’t save the world if you don’t save yourself first, Zee!”. Take part in one or more of these activities:
- Find a new recipe, share it with 3 friends, and have a virtual bake-off
- Take a scenic drive and listen to a podcast, or your favorite radio station
- Enjoy a nice bubble bath, because why not?
DoubleTree by Hilton did us all a favor by sharing their life-changing, ground-breaking, dream-like chocolate chip cookie recipe.
Ask yourself: Do I have chocolate chips at home?
Zienab Fahs is the Director of Safe Spaces at the Michigan chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI), where she works with public and private institutions across the state to prevent and counter acts of discrimination and Islamophobia. Zienab jumpstarted her career when she joined Oakland HOPE to assist in opening the now client-choice Food Pantry which serves over 400 families a month. More recently, Zienab worked for IFF, the largest non-profit community development financial institution in the Midwest, administering grants to childcare business owners.