Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Happy Tuesday my peoples!

I hope everyone had a very nice, and hopefully LONG weekend. I had a great time with my mini Valentine's this weekend. My nephews light up my world - it's always so hard to leave them! The baby was crying as he held his sneakers in his hand saying "I wanna go with Auntie!" It breaks my heart, but I love that they love me so much!

Kyce is getting used to me going back and forth, even though he still doesn't like it. He asked me why I had to work. I told him I needed to work to make money. His reply? "Well, I don't work and I have money." Must be nice, right? :-)

Kyce is usually joined at my hip while I'm there. He likes to tell me about his schoolwork, his little friends and his newest toys. He tells me how bad Brahim was. He practices counting to 100 (I promised him I'd give him $100 if he could perfect counting to 100 by his birthday - March 30th). But yesterday, out of nowhere, he said to me, "people who are not Muslims pray to God, but people who ARE Muslims pray to Allah." We were watching Stomp the Yard for the millionth time (he likes watching them step), so his comment came out of nowhere. I said, "you're right Kyce." He then proceeds to pick up the Quran and translate some of what was written in Arabic and recite it to me in English. "Do you know what this means Auntie?" After I said no, he gave me a lesson...and I was dumbfounded by how much he knew.

Kyce attends a school for Islamic studies. Needless to say that is where he learned to read in Arabic. Although I knew they practiced counting and writing their alphabet - both English and Arabic - I never really had a full grasp of just how much he knew until then. After all, Kyce HATES doing homework. He feels that work is for school and playing is for home. So for him to give me an impromptu lesson caught my attention. Never was I so proud of him.

But I wasn't just proud because he could read Arabic or translate the Quran. I was proud of him because he said he realizes that I am not a Muslim but that it was okay for me to pray to a different God than he does. At almost 5 years old, he has a firm grasp of tolerance and acceptance. He understands that God is One, and we are all loved under Him.

In a world with diverse religions and spiritual beliefs, he knows there are many paths to God. Some people make their own religion. Some believe in something higher than themselves, even if they don't give It a name. For some it's a matter of salvation, while for others it's simply a matter of comfort. At his early age, he is aware of God and His power, and he knows that each of us is an expression of all that God is - no matter what you call Him. He learned that from his parents - but it is reinforced in his schooling, where his religion is incorporated into his studies, not drowned out by academics that don't contribute to his values or morality.

The reason why I tell you all of this is because his school is in danger of being shut down. My sister told me that state funding and tuition may not be enough to keep his school open. My sister is a recent convert to Islam, so she's still learning herself. She learns through Kyce sometimes. Her husband has been a Muslim all of his life, but working 12-14 hour days doesn't allow him to reinforce the teachings of Islam to his children as he would like to. This is why they chose Villanova Academy for Honor Students (VAHS). Kyce has excelled there, so we're saddened at the idea that his school may be closing down. They have no money to pay teachers, and one teacher even offered to claim layoff status so that her salary could go to another teacher who needs it. His teachers are dedicated and selfless - it's no wonder they help foster and nourish Kyce's kind heart.

VAHS is holding a fundraiser, and I would love if you all could take a look at their brochure and see if there is anything you'd like to purchase to help raise money for the school. You can view their spring catalog and place an order through me if you'd like. It would mean a great deal to me, my family and to VAHS. Although I'm a proud Christian, schools like VAHS need to exist. They need resources to grow. And they need a chance to help our children excel. Schools like this one encourage students to ask questions, to seek enlightenment, to thirst for knowledge and to grow spiritually. What the students give in return is immeasurable.

Kyce is selling Yankee Candles (my absolute favorite things in the world!) and flower seeds. The orders must be received by March 6th, 2009. Delivery is 4-6 weeks from receipt of orders. Checks can be made out to Villanova Academy Honor Students. Take a look and if you're interested, please reply to me personally at brookeybaby73@yahoo.com. Thank you all for your support!

-b

38 comments:

The Fury said...

First!!???

Annamaria said...

This school needs to be saved just like the countless other schools due to be closed.
BUT by reading this article I can already tell that your nephew has a special something inside him that makes him the INTELLIGENT, MATURE young man that he is already at 5 years old. He's going to be something special as he gets older & as long as you guys all support him he will excel no matter what!!!
He can teach many grownups a thing or two about acceptance & understanding..

Anonymous said...

Fury: A taser to yo a**!

P.S.your comment doesn't count cause you didn't even comment on the blog subject!!!!
And it was a very important one soo THERE!

Annamaria said...

ok i forgot to put my name but we all know that anonymous comment was from me... Come on who else would reference a taser! LOL

The Fury said...

I was shocked I was first so excuse me while I get out of my daze. You're just mad I'm first. You can touch my ass though sans taser. Save that for Kid Cudi.

This school sounds amazing. I really appreciate any school that teaches children not only how to think and learn, but also to teach. It's this kind of religious tolerance that needs to flourish. While I understand it's not allowable in mnay schools because of the separation of church and state, it's great to see that when taught well and with an open heart it can really work.

Maybe Kyce can talk to Annamaria about her violent tasing ways? ;-)

Brooke said...

LOL!! Actually, I think Kyce would like the taser...or maybe tasing his little brother just to see what happens. He's a smart kid, but he's still a kid...so I wouldn't trust him with a taser :)

oxtail said...

Brrooke great post. I just want to add a quick correction. Muslims don't pray to a different God than Christians, and Christian don't pray to a different God than Muslims, and Jews don't pray...etc etc. I'm sure you get the point.

It's actually all the same God. The difference between who Muslims and Christians pray to is we don't believe that Isa (Jesus), alaihi salaam is God. We believe he was a human being like any other prophet, including the prophet Mohammed (S.A.W)

Allah is just the Arabic word for God. LIke Elohim is the Hebrew word for God. It is very important that we make this distinction because all the monotheistic faiths come from the same Abrahamic line.

I commend your Nephew for his Arabic skills because he is way farther than me [a convert] (and many other people who grew up Muslim). I'm just got into the 200 level in my Arabic course and Kyce is already reading. As the Muslims say AlHamdulilah (Praise to God).

I don't want to get too theological up on this joint, put just wanted to put that out there. If I misunderstood what you initially posted, then I send my apologies.

Rene The Harlemite said...

It's great that Kyce has this understanding at a young age. Many lives have been lost over centuries for not having this type of mindframe.

Nicole-If you want him to be a Que please refrain from Kyce watching "Stomp the Yard" and repping the Theta's!!!! LMAO!

Brooke said...

Hey Ox, no apologies needed. All Kyce was saying was that Muslims call God Allah, whereas non-Muslims don't. But he understands that God is one. That's basically what he was saying, so sorry if I didn't communicate that effectively.

I always appreciate learning about different religions, the differences between them, as well as the likenesses. Thanks Ox.

Rene, that boy wants to step SO BAD! He loves the part where Neyo goes "Showtime!" LOL!

oxtail said...

Aha..okay light bulbs just went off. Thx

Rene The Harlemite said...

Extra Graaaaaaaaaaaaaaavy! lol!

Brooke said...

LMAO!!! yeah, he likes that part too. Then he claps his hands and stomps his feet all fast, he thinks he's really doing something. The baby does it now too. We can watch that movie all day everyday.

"Who's that creepin in my window? ha ha ha, theta nu!" LOL!!

Annamaria said...

Damn & I thought I had it bad at home when Austin makes me watch his step show tapes...LMAO
Although I do love that movie. LOL

Brooke said...

Well, at least there's some eye candy in Stomp The Yard, so I don't really complain when they wanna watch it again and again :)

The Black Cloud AKA Andre said...

I STILL haven't seen that film Maybe one day when I have absolutely nothing to do...umm..is there any Q oil in it? It may entice me to watch. LOL

Kyce's school really does sound great. It's a shame that our economy as digressed so much that these sort of opportunities are being placed in jeopardy.

Think Kyce could teach me Arabic? I'd love to learn.

Annamaria said...

Brooke...very true... that is why i LOVE that movie..LMAO...

Brooke said...

Didn't we call it Omega Oil in school? :) I know you have a fondness for it :)

I think Kyce's school was having problems even BEFORE the economy sank, but now it's even worse. Schools like that don't always get the same funding as say a Catholic school would. Shame. Maybe if my sister comments, she can help to shed some more light on it.

I'm sure Kyce would love to teach you Arabic :)

oxtail said...

It's really tough. There is a local Muslim newspaper called the TriSate Muslim and you hear stories like this all the time. A lot of these schools work exclusively on donations and are not federally or state funded. I will spread the word though and hit them up with a donation today.

Brooke said...

Thanks Ox! I'm sure they'd appreciate that...and so do I!

The Black Cloud AKA Andre said...

You're right Omega Oil is the correct name. I've only had it a few times and as you see, it has rendered parts of my brain inoperable. LMAO

Sorry off topic.

The donation idea from Oxtail is a very good one.

Brooke said...

Well, feel free to order candles or donate to them directly. Any amount helps. I know times are tough right now, so anything would be appreciated, thanks!

oxtail said...

Andre I heard you mention earlier that you are interested in learning Arabic. The place I go to is here:
http://www.knowledgeofislam.com/

I'll just tell you right now so you don't feel you're getting a biased opinion. I just came on as an adviser to help rebuild their website and online teaching tools, but I don't know of any site that is as thorough as this organization. Their online Arabic courses are really good.

Annamaria said...

I must say I am a lil disappointed that you don’t have more comments on your blog today. I would have thought more people would have chimed in on such an important topic. We can comment 100 times on TMI Tuesdays & Random Thought Thursdays OR Craigs Daughters fried eggs (WHERE IS CRAIG???) BUT this topic affects us all. Whether directly or indirectly. This economy is taking a toll on our kids future. By closing this school & others are kids aren't getting the education they need, deserve & we want them to have. Remember these kids are OUR future. They are the next president, VP, senators, lawyers, police officers, preachers, etc etc etc

phillygrl said...

hello..Brooke, Im sad to hear abt Kyce's school,as you probably know, I visited there during Eid in helping Nicole wrap Eid gifts & speaking with her & Vania, another mom there. It is a great resource, & also a great BUILDING & LAND.....it reminds you of a college campus really...It's good to hear that Kyce is so engaged as well.( funny..while we were just in a side room talking, it was picture day for the kids so there was lots of activity) , Ibrahim was playing with this littel giarl suhailah & they had a little scarf & he kept laying it on floor & pretended he was making Salat(salah)..it was too cute..--the boy is 2 !!!!! I was like Nicole, check him out!!..we all started laughing. The school ( just on my observation ) seemed very inclusive..not the typ of place that's like, oh the parents are yere visiting?no it encourages that( at least that's how I felt when I went there). this is a shame, as others have mentioned a lot of private schools will suffer the same fate, I went to a small black private school here in philly( there were only 8 kids in my class from 1-6th grade) & just 2 years ago, we found out it closed down..they sent out some flyers or something, but by the time all the former students got the info , it was like a week before they had to close..so they ended up closing...Excellent education & lifelong friendships( my best friend is from 2nd grade). Let's hope this one can dodge the bullet--so to speak.

oxtail said...

Brooke is this the organization?
http://www.fiesite.org/fie2/Full-Time%20Islamic%20School.htm

Pretty Ricky What Dey Call'em said...

Send me those yankee candle Catalogs. I'm always down for a good cause. B-Luv...luvs da kids. Hmmm Brooke. Seems like we just came up with a cause for your party to support. Maybe even in lieu of gifts people can donate to the school. WHAT ABOUT A GAME NIGHT!!!!!

Hollah at your boy!

Brooke said...

Yep, Ox...that's it!

Brooke said...

B - I just read your comment, for some reason I didn't see it. I think that's a great idea!!! Let's do it!

Malek said...

Asalaam Alaikum everyone,
That is very hard not to say to non Muslims...I usually get a blank stare, but since we got some Muslims on the blog today I thought why not....

Well I would like to say thank you for all your concern, donations, and interest....

As Karen(Phillygirl)can attest to it is a fabulous school on a great campus in Villanova PA right near the university...

I will be happen to take donations but I will let you know, because the school is holding a BIG meeting on this Thursday to discuss the goings on of the school. I know the teachers have taken a pay cut, but insha'Allah they will be discussing the long term goals of the school.

As for the funding the school was receiving sodikah (charity) from a private donator from Saudi Arabia...they can no longer provide that gift due to the worlds economy....The community has come together to make donations but the bigger picture is the long term....I think some new management is in order.....So insh'Allah the school will have a plan or will give a clear idea of what it needs from the community.....

Ox Salaams brother and I to will be checking that website you left for Arabic....I know "Moroccan Arabic" but need to learn more classic.....

Also we are planning a big fund raising dinner at the end of the year and I am looking for a dynamic speaker!!! Any suggestions?!??!?!

Pretty Ricky I think your idea for game night is excellent!!!!!

Ma Salaama everyone.....enjoy your brief Arabic lesson

PS Rene Kyce has more the personality of a Kappa, Brahim is my Que....

Brooke said...

Thanks Nicole (Malek), I didn't realize all the funding was coming from a charitable donation and none from the state. Wow...that's crazy. This world economy will really taking it's toll.

Hopefully after Thursday, the school will come up with a plan to stay open and operate to the level the student and parents expect/hope for.

Malek said...

There is some grant programs available through the state, but I don't know if the school pursued it...That's why they need to change the Director and the "Board"....The Director is an excellent scholar but I don't think a savvy business man...That's what I think is the feeling of a lot of the staff and parents...

oxtail said...

Wa Alaikum Assalam. Salaam Malek. I hope the school can get the necessary funding, Inshallah.

The Masjid I'm apart of, the Muslim Center of Manhattan is somewhat in the same predicament. We get all our funding from the community because once the gub-min't starts getting involved then they want to dictate with invasive oversight.

Right now things are okay, but with the economy tanking every organization is feeling the pinch.

Jazakallahu Khair.

- Ox

Malek said...

OX in the Philadelphia area I can only think of one other school, but the things I have heard about it are so disturbing.....Insha'Allah Allah will provide for our school as well as your mosque...all we can say is Allhumdulilah!!!

Latinegro said...

Brook,

Great Post! It made me think about the fact that you never hear about the private schools that struggle in this economy.

Normally the talks are all about public schools and their lack of funding. I am very glad you brought this up.

I will foward this blog to the Muslim Students Association on campus and see if they are interesting in helping.

Sorry I did not post a comment earlier. Work is kicking my ass.

Georgia Peach said...

Today was a little crazy work wise so I wasn't able to get on much earlier. I have to say that one thing that I'm most proud of is the job your sis (Malek) and her hubby have done to raise her babies to be tolerant. I think (most) people downplay the importance of your family nurturing the seeds planted at school.

It's crazy to hear that the economy is affecting even our education system. I'll def order a few candles Brooke (just remind me tmrw). Thanks for posting this topic such an important one.

Brooke said...

No need to apologize Ant and Glee for posting later. I don't normally get a chance to comment on others' blog (yours included) until later at night because I'm working too. I barely have time to comment on my OWN blog! LOL! I appreciate the fact that you read it at all!

And thank you all for your calls, texts and emails asking how you can donate to Kyce's school. You have no idea how much your support means to me and my family and the school. I'm going to try to get A&E to match your donations, so I'll keep you all posted on that.

Glee, since I'll see you on Sunday, I can bring the catalog with me for you to take a look. Or you can go to their site, up to you! Thank you all again so much, you all are truly a blessing!

p.s. Ant - I got my issue of the Syracuse Manuscript and saw youf face on the cover...and I see you're showing it here now...you handsome devil!

Latinegro said...

The funny thing is...I dont even like that pic on the Syracuse Manuscript!

Thank you Brook. You know you fine as hell too..

Brooke said...

LOL!! awww, thanks! Don't be tryna gas me up buttercup! :-)

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