As Treetops’s community development director, Shadia works with the New American women in our Sisters Circle program. She helps them navigate their new life in West Michigan and the many complex systems––like housing, immigration, and transportation. She leads monthly workshops which encourage women to be leaders in their communities. On top of that, she works alongside our community connector, Sylvia, helping mentor the girls of the teen Sisters Circle group.
Shadia loves problem solving with the women and girls and seeing them feel a sense of accomplishment. She learns from them everyday and feels she gets more from them than they do from her. Her passionate work activates our larger community as she supports these New American leaders to achieve their goals.
A New American herself, Shadia met Treetops co-founder, Dana Doll, the first day she arrived in the States. At a dinner event, the women connected over their shared passion and background in community development. When Treetops was first starting, the two reconnected and Shadia joined the board. But she was itching to dive in deeper and work directly with people––and so she came into her current role.
Shadia remembers a time she felt incredibly welcomed while visiting the home of an elderly American friend. As a Muslim, Shadia takes her salah seriously, and while she was visiting, a prayer notification on her phone went off. The woman asked what the reminder was for, then quickly prepared a place for her to pray. Shadia was touched that even though this woman was not Muslim, she made such a gesture of welcome in her own home.
In turn, Shadia shows welcome by working to be kind and warm to every person she comes across. She has learned not to judge people at face value for there is always a backstory we do not know. Also, “you can never go wrong with offering people food,” she says. “I feed people every chance I can get.”
In her very limited free time (when not catering to her busy toddler and infant), she loves watching Korean dramas, cardio drum beating, and drinking copious amounts of chai. “If I don't have a cup in a day I feel uneasy,” she says. And a confession: she’s not a big fan of small talk, but says, “It's a West Michigan thing so I am trying to learn.” We see you, Shadia :)