Training Tomorrow's Leaders Today
Sonia Shah Organization’s mission is set in 3 important pillars. The very first is the education of underprivileged girls at Sonia Shah School in Kangra, Pakistan. Without the Sonia Shah School, those girls would have no chance of education and opportunity to improve their and their families’ lives. This is where Sonia’s mission started but it doesn’t stop there. Its mission is also to enable education for girls around the world, offering the College Scholarship Program to allow underprivileged but well-qualified girls to receive higher education. This way, they are able to change their futures but also positively impact the communities around them. And lastly, at the core of Sonia Shah Organization lies its team of Young Ambassadors. A group of sincerely ambitious men and women, our Young Ambassadors are always held at the highest standards of integrity, leadership, accountability and perseverance.
At SSO, they are encouraged to be well-rounded leaders who think outside the box. Instilled in them is a growth mindset and they push each other to excel in every task – big and small. Many of them are still in school and pursuing higher education, with big dreams. SSO is dedicated to providing them with the tools to achieve whatever they set their minds and hearts to.
During the year, when Sonia Shah Young Ambassadors are not volunteering, they are given training sessions for personal development. In March, this group had the privilege to attend one such workshop hosted by Sudden Cardiac-Death Awareness Research Foundation’s (S.C.A.R.F) founders Dr. Rubina and Dr. Paul Nguyen. S.C.A.R.F’s mission is to educate the community about the signs and prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death/Arrest, the leading cause of death within the United States. S.C.A.R.F.’s teen campers learn about their health, the health of their communities (and families), how to manage stress, career choices, and the importance of giving back to the community.
To get more information on S.C.A.R.F., you can go to: https://www.scarfnow.org/about
Dr. Rubina and Dr. Paul developed a shorter version of their leadership curriculum for our ambassadors. Along with staff members, they donated their time and space to provide the training in their Elgin, Illinois office. The goal of this training was to empower young minds to be future leaders through their commitment to critical thinking, teamwork and higher education.
As a power couple, they took the time to train our Young Ambassadors on some essential skills that will not only help them become future leaders, but also help them align their priorities and goals to become better versions of themselves. It was over 3 hours of intense training, presentation, dialogue and challenge. The more effort we put into our Young Ambassadors, the greater support they can be to our mission. They will stand out as successful professionals willing and ready to give back to society.
One of the Ambassadors, Amina Irfan, reflected on her experience at the training. “The phrase “born leader” truly means that you are born with two aspects of leadership that Dr. Nguyen emphasized – Delayed Gratification & Grit,” she said. “I did not grow up knowing these words, but sitting there listening to Dr, Nguyen, I could see that past versions of myself already had these qualities instilled, but needed to be resurfaced.”
Other Ambassadors expressed that it helped lay out priorities in their lives and how every interaction with the hosts as well as each other was a profound learning experience.
“I feel blessed to have been able to take part in this session,” Irfan said. “Not everyone is given such a chance. But I think not everyone needs it.”
Dr. Paul also talked about his life as a refugee from Vietnam and how he went on to become a successful cardiologist. “It is the adversity that teaches life’s biggest lessons,” he said. “The real philanthropy is to give when you don’t have much. You don’t have to wait to grow older, richer or smarter. Sonia gave when she had nothing, was only 17, had no job, money or title. But what she started will have a lasting impact on humanity.”
At Sonia Shah Organization, we strongly focus on changing the world, one girl at a time and our Young Ambassadors are the catalysts for that change.