Iraqi boy's story inspires new La Jolla High club

Children of the World members include, standing from left, Jahan Tajran, Matt Twohig, Mehran Ghamaty, Ricky Naiton, Chance Miller, Mehrdad Ghamaty, and Ethan Bark and, seated from left, Stephen Wilkinson, Alex Wang, and Eric Ly. Photo: Courtesy
Children of the World members include, standing from left, Jahan Tajran, Matt Twohig, Mehran Ghamaty, Ricky Naiton, Chance Miller, Mehrdad Ghamaty, and Ethan Bark and, seated from left, Stephen Wilkinson, Alex Wang, and Eric Ly. Photo: Courtesy

By Mojy Yavari

Special to the Light

At the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year, a new club named Children of the World was created at La Jolla High School. It started with five members — Jahan Tajran, Stephen Wilkinson, Mehrdad Ghamaty, Mehran Ghamaty, and Alex Wong.

This year they hope to have 25 more.

Its founder and president, Jahan, had met a little Iraqi refugee boy who had shared with him his life story but also his struggles with school. Jahan in turn shared this boy’s story with his friends at school and together they came up with the mission for this club.

“This club helps the students with English and mathematics, and they also enjoy an after school activity,” Jahan said. “Some of the parents don’t speak English fluently and can’t help their kids with school work. This is where we came in with the tutoring. We also had more time one on one to help the students understand concepts that were not understood the first time. “

He noted that the “students’ grades improved and so did their attitude and outlook and, in the after-school activities that included soccer and basketball, they learned about team work.”

Once their mission was agreed to by all founding members, they chose Anza Elementary School of El Cajon as a spot to volunteer.

During the school year, each club member contributed up to 70 hours to fourth and fifth grade students. Their hard work paid off when John Marshall Elementary School also requested their volunteering. Each Children of the World club member helped with an additional 25 hours to this school.

“It was so exciting to see the kids,” Mehran said. “They were genuinely happy to see us and that made all the hard work worth it. It was very rewarding for us to find out that the kids’ scores improved. We look forward to do the same this year.”

By the end of the 2010-2011 school year, the club had 14 members. It is anticipated that by the end of this year, the club will have increased to 30 members thereby being able to help more students.

“The plan for this year is to have more students participate in this club because we know we can make a difference for each and every kid. It has been a positive experience for everyone involved,” Jahan said. “A difference can be made — it just takes some time. We live in a very generous world and children are our world.”

Mehrdad added, “If you are a LJHS student and want to help, please stop any of us and join the club.”

   
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