MAFS Mini Fundraiser proves a big hit

Keynote speaker Jonathan Levin and Executive Director Ms Santosh Kumar r
Keynote speaker Jonathan Levin and Executive Director Ms Santosh Kumar r

CHICAGO: Metropolitan Asian Family Services (MAFS) hosted a gala Mini Fundraiser event at its Naperville location on May 10. It was a fun filled event attended by a good number of elected local officials and Chicagoland elites besides MAFS team members.
Among the dignitaries were: Christopher Pecak, Mayor of Lisle; M. Jonathan Levin, CEO, AgeOptions; Joe Fortunato, Attorney; Jossue Espinosa, Administrator at ILL DHS; Beatris Gonzalez, DHS office; Marta Pereyra, Executive Director, CLESE; Jagat Shah, Founder and Chief, Mentor On Road; Nimish Jani, Krishna Bansal, Cecelia Ocana and Rosa Barraza from Senior Services Associates, Lisa Boatwright from Dupage County Senior Services and Shree Gurusamy from County Care.

The Mini Fundraiser was a phenomenal success. Over 300 senior participants and guests were in attendance with many taking part in the entertainment. The program started with the lighting of the auspicious lamp followed by a welcome speech by the president of MAFS, Dr. Firdaus Jafri. She thanked everyone for coming, and encouraged the community to help the cause with their generous donations. The seniors and the guests enjoyed scrumptious snacks and hors d’oeuvres as the entertainment commenced.
The entertainment started with an inspirational dance by “Rina Rockers” of Naperville. They danced to a song, “aarambh hai prachand hai,” choreographed by Rina Thakur. It was a dedication to women in general. Next was Jagat Shah talking about his travel to many places. He emphasized that seniors should count their age backwards to remain ageless and active. Mayor of Lisle, Christopher Pecak promised that he will attend all future events at MAFS in the coming years. In his speech, Jossue Espinosa appreciated MAFS’ work in helping the seniors live a better life. Joe Fortunato, wished MAFS success in all its endeavors
Keynote speaker Jonathan Lavin recalled his long association with MAFS and Mrs Santosh Kumar and congratulated MAFS for 26 years of dedicated service to the community. He announced his retirement which dismayed the audience. MAFS Board of Directors felicitated Lavin for his continuous community service with a plaque. Flowers were presented to all the guests of honor.
The entertainment progressed with a rocking performance by the seniors from the Niles location. They flawlessly danced to the song “Macarena”. Seniors from Vernon Hills gave an awesome performance, emphasizing togetherness. Naperville Seniors showcased the beauty and grace of Rajasthan by performing to a classic song, Ghoomar.

Chicago seniors rocked the show with a Marathi wedding dance, Navrai Majhi Ladachi. A dance medley taking the audience from Shammi Kapoor’s era to Sridevi era was ably performed by seniors from Orland Park for the first time. Schaumburg seniors performed a well-choreographed dance sequence to give tribute to the late veteran actress Sridevi, narrated by senior participant Jayesh Desai.
Next was a hilarious dance skit, performed by the staff, well-choreographed by Deepti Shah, mimicking some of the Board of Directors. This skit created a sensation in the audience and chuckles amongst the Board of Directors. Jayesh Desai’s “Parichay” received a thunderous applause from the audience. Last but not the least, senior Ms Tabassum Rabbani gave a solo performance, dancing to a very popular song “Mere Rashke Qamar”.
Thereafter Executive Director Mrs. Santosh Kumar emotionally recollected the initial opening of MAFS which captured the attention of the audience especially seniors. It was 26 years ago, with the guidance of Jonathan Lavin that she started this organization to help the immigrant seniors lead a healthy and comfortable life in the US. She could not see the sufferings of the aged immigrants who came to the US, lost and depressed due to language barriers and lack of resources.

mafs team
MAFS team members and guests


She extended her special thanks to the board president, Dr. Jafri and the other board members, for being pillars of the organization. Mrs. Kumar praised her staff and volunteers who helped her build MAFS to where it stands now, a well-reputed social service organization. She announced the opening of their new location in Schaumburg at the Patel Brothers Plaza. She added that at present this program will not be able to sustain itself for long, due to budget constraints. Henceforth, she passionately appealed to the community to help this noble cause with contributions of any kind and keep it going after her.
The attendees heartily enjoyed a delicious vegetarian dinner catered from Touch of Spice. Dinner was followed by a melodious performance of Bollywood songs by local singers Chetan Trivedi and Dr. Sonal Patel, ably supported by professional DJ Abhi Trivedi. Emcees Neelam Desai and Jahnavi Bavisi did a commendable job managing the entire program. Dr. Rakesh Asthani, secretary of MAFS, concluded the program with the vote of thanks.

Suchi Sunder

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