The Fremont Podcast

Episode 114: Afghan Elderly Association: A Conversation with Members of Leadership Fremont

April 19, 2024 Ricky B Season 3 Episode 114
Episode 114: Afghan Elderly Association: A Conversation with Members of Leadership Fremont
The Fremont Podcast
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The Fremont Podcast
Episode 114: Afghan Elderly Association: A Conversation with Members of Leadership Fremont
Apr 19, 2024 Season 3 Episode 114
Ricky B

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Each year, Leadership Fremont chooses individuals in the community to coach and equip for greater leadership. This group of leaders choose a non-profit to focus on and support. This class of leaders chose AEA (Afghan Elderly Association) as their organization. This is our conversation with member of Leadership Fremont.

Refugees from Afghanistan are struggling once they relocate to California. To find out more read:

This SF Chronicle article.

https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Afghan-refugees-17401496.php

This CNN article.

https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/18/us/afghan-evacuees-one-year-later/index.html

This article from Time.

https://time.com/6180724/afghan-refugees-housing-crisis/


A snippet of a news report from VOA Ashan TV about Fremont’s AEA was used at the end of this episode. That report can be watched in full here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vk_2aJNp2I&ab_channel=VOADari

Check out Own It Fitness for your professional fitness solutions. You can find their website here.

Connect with them on Instagram here. 

If you are interested in supporting the podcast, please reach out to us at thefremontpodcast@gmail.com, or you can contact us here. 


Fremont Bank has been partnering with and supporting people and small businesses for over six decades.

Also, Petrocelli Homes has been a key sponsor for the Fremont Podcast almost from the beginning. If you are looking for help or advice about buying or selling a home, or if you are looking for a realtor, get in touch with Petrocelli Homes on Niles Blvd in Niles.

If you are in need of services for design or printing, check out Minutemen Press in Irvington. They have been serving the community for over 20 years, and they stand strong by their work and service.

Intro and Outro voiceovers made by Gary Williams. Check out garywilliams.org.

This episode was edited by Andrew C.

Scheduling and background was done by Sara S.

This is a Muggins Media Podcast.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Each year, Leadership Fremont chooses individuals in the community to coach and equip for greater leadership. This group of leaders choose a non-profit to focus on and support. This class of leaders chose AEA (Afghan Elderly Association) as their organization. This is our conversation with member of Leadership Fremont.

Refugees from Afghanistan are struggling once they relocate to California. To find out more read:

This SF Chronicle article.

https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Afghan-refugees-17401496.php

This CNN article.

https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/18/us/afghan-evacuees-one-year-later/index.html

This article from Time.

https://time.com/6180724/afghan-refugees-housing-crisis/


A snippet of a news report from VOA Ashan TV about Fremont’s AEA was used at the end of this episode. That report can be watched in full here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vk_2aJNp2I&ab_channel=VOADari

Check out Own It Fitness for your professional fitness solutions. You can find their website here.

Connect with them on Instagram here. 

If you are interested in supporting the podcast, please reach out to us at thefremontpodcast@gmail.com, or you can contact us here. 


Fremont Bank has been partnering with and supporting people and small businesses for over six decades.

Also, Petrocelli Homes has been a key sponsor for the Fremont Podcast almost from the beginning. If you are looking for help or advice about buying or selling a home, or if you are looking for a realtor, get in touch with Petrocelli Homes on Niles Blvd in Niles.

If you are in need of services for design or printing, check out Minutemen Press in Irvington. They have been serving the community for over 20 years, and they stand strong by their work and service.

Intro and Outro voiceovers made by Gary Williams. Check out garywilliams.org.

This episode was edited by Andrew C.

Scheduling and background was done by Sara S.

This is a Muggins Media Podcast.

Speaker 1:

Coming to you straight from Fremont, california. This is the Fremont Podcast, dedicated to telling the stories of the past and present of the people and places of the city of Fremont, one conversation at a time.

Speaker 2:

Hello, fremont, you're listening to episode 114. Quick editor's note here there is a little bit of confusion, especially at the beginning of the conversation here, about who is who, who represents what and what organization is being represented. So I wanted to break it down just a little bit so that the conversation runs a little smoother. This conversation is about the Afghan Elderly Association, but nobody from the Afghan Elderly Association was being recorded in this interview. Instead we are getting representatives from the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, a very specific program hosted by the Chamber of Commerce. Let me play you a little bit of tape at the beginning to show where we got a little confused about who's who. I'll be right back.

Speaker 3:

Actually, let me figure out what is your position with the Afghan Elderly Association.

Speaker 4:

Well, at this point, actually, Muriel and I are representing Leadership Fremont, the class of 2024. And the group that we're focused on is the Afghan Elderly.

Speaker 3:

Association. So you work for the city. Both of you work for the city.

Speaker 4:

Okay, so we're not.

Speaker 3:

Good, let's clarify that then.

Speaker 4:

So I work with the city of Fremont. I've been here for 18 years. I'm currently a management analyst, but prior to that I was a senior program coordinator working on a subcontract to the Afghan Elderly Association. So I know a lot more about that group than anyone else on our team.

Speaker 3:

I see Very good. And what is your role?

Speaker 5:

I work at Hearst Breast Cancer Foundation, just down the street from the city of Fremont offices. I am the operations and outreach manager.

Speaker 3:

I'm the city of Fremont offices.

Speaker 5:

I am the operations and outreach manager Okay and currently with involvement with leadership Fremont, I function as the marketing lead with Marisha here and one other member, Mark Jones.

Speaker 3:

Very good, that's awesome. Okay great, I think that helps.

Speaker 2:

So we here at the Fremont podcast, we're actually really excited to talk about the Afghan Elderly Association, and that's what most of this interview is. For any potential future guests that would like to be on the show, we would love to have you to talk about things that are important to Fremont. If you could be a little more clear as to who you are and who you represent, it'll be helpful to us and to the listeners and for our part because you know we produce this and we have a part to play we're going to try a lot harder to get people who actually represent the organizations that we're talking about, and not necessarily very well-intentioned and lovely third parties. But there you go. Most of this episode is just fine.

Speaker 1:

Now here's your host, Ricky B.

Speaker 3:

So we are. I think the sound sounds good, the levels look good and, yeah, let's jump into it.

Speaker 4:

Okay, great.

Speaker 3:

So I have Marisha and Muriel. Did I get that right? Yes, awesome, perfect. They're joining me today representing the Afghan Elderly Association here in Fremont.

Speaker 4:

I think we should take a step further back. Why don't you explain what Leadership Fremont is? Because it's a group of us, 12 of us. Great, let's do that, okay.

Speaker 5:

We originally got involved with this. I know Marisha has worked with the AEA before, but through hers I was enrolled through Leadership Fremont through the. Fremont Chamber of Commerce.

Speaker 3:

Okay, I got you the.

Speaker 5:

Leadership Fremont program.

Speaker 3:

Okay.

Speaker 5:

So there's 12 of us in our cohort for our class 2024.

Speaker 3:

Oh, okay, I see oh. And this is kind of this is all making a little bit more sense to me right now, and they're from local, like we have two folks from Washington Hospital, someone from Bay Area Community Health.

Speaker 5:

For public services.

Speaker 4:

Alameda County Water District. All these businesses have agreed to send someone to this class for training. Okay, well, talk to me about this then this is okay.

Speaker 3:

I think I was confused.

Speaker 1:

I am confused. I thought this was more why I was confused. I am confused. I thought this was more.

Speaker 4:

Why I'm here.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, no, no.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I was trying to figure out what the relationship was between all of these and actually I guess what it comes down to is that there's a Leadership Fremont. So what is Leadership Fremont?

Speaker 5:

Yeah, so that will be the main catalyst pretty much of where we are right now Leadership. Fremont is a program through the Fremont Chamber of Commerce.

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Speaker 5:

Basically they do. As Marisha said, they reach out to all of these entities in the city, because right now in our class we have the Alameda County Water District, again Republic Services, we have the Fremont Police Department. So these are all representatives in the community.

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Speaker 5:

And we gather each month for a full-time class, full day, and we go to different. So last month we were at Tesla.

Speaker 4:

Okay, so we get introduced to all of the functioning services here in the city of Fremont pretty much, and their leaders come and speak to us about what it means to be a leader.

Speaker 5:

For our education topic for the month we were at Ohlone College and the. Mvrop, what they do for the community, and then, through this, in the beginning of our session, we actually had to pick a nonprofit to support.

Speaker 3:

I see Very cool and then I believe in 2019,.

Speaker 5:

Hearst was the recipient for this, and they actually did a video for Hearst. That was their project. Okay, yeah, so it's a great way to get introduced to everybody in the community.

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Speaker 5:

You get to meet and just be networked, and then we have to kind of like figure out what we're going to do for this non-profit that we pick and we have to like either raise funds or start a project and have to finish that by the end of our of our class okay, leadership classes have been going on since the 90s. Okay, yeah.

Speaker 4:

So, they've been classes every year graduate classes that do different projects causes, and for our group we had, I think, three groups come, nonprofits come to present, chamber of Commerce reaches out to a group of them and people can submit their own group's names if they want, and so that's how we picked the AEA. That's awesome.

Speaker 3:

Okay, so this is all making more sense to me. So you guys are part of Leadership Fremont, yes, and Class of 24, which is what you were saying there there's 12 of you, yes, and you come from different organizations, and then you found a nonprofit to be able to support and to be able to promote and that sort of thing and fundraise for that's awesome. Okay, so let's back up just a little bit. Where did you come from or what do you represent in the leadership? Fremont.

Speaker 5:

So I came from Herz Breast Cancer.

Speaker 3:

Foundation Okay, herz okay.

Speaker 5:

Yes, and I actually function as a marketing lead for the good class of 2024.

Speaker 3:

And through that we have other functioning teams as well, great, and I know you probably already answered this, but we're going to ask the question correctly what organization do you represent as part of the leadership Fremont?

Speaker 4:

So I represent the city of Fremont, in particular the human services department Awesome Very good.

Speaker 3:

Very good, you can hear the rest of this conversation in just a moment.

Speaker 2:

Oh, how about this? We'll be right back. You can hear the rest.

Speaker 3:

There you go, we'll be right back. You can hear the rest of this conversation in just a moment.

Speaker 2:

Fremont Bank has been in business for 60 years. For clarity, fremont Bank is the Fremont Bank that you see on almost every sponsored by banner in town. Fremont Bank really likes helping out the community, do the things that it wants to do and now it is a sponsor of this podcast about community in Fremont. Thank you, fremont Bank.

Speaker 3:

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Speaker 2:

Hello Fremont parents of bored suburban teenagers. I bet kiddo is staring at their phone, as calm and peaceful as this town is. We have five, nay six, high schools. We have bored suburban teenagers. They are trying to escape. The lovely books in a bookshop have saved the adolescence of countless bored suburban teenagers. Banter Bookshop is in downtown Fremont. Every single episode of the Fremont Podcast is now on YouTube. We put it there in case playing it from YouTube is easier for some people Enjoy. Please consider donating $1 a month on a reoccurring basis to help this podcast that you enjoy. Buymeacoffeecom. Slash TheFremontPodcast. Slash membership.

Speaker 3:

And now back to our conversation. So one of you tell me exactly what is the Afghan Elderly Association. Do you want to do that? Marisha Sure?

Speaker 4:

So the Afghan Elderly Association, or as we commonly refer to them as the AEA, is a group that came out of a need back in 1995. They identified recent refugees who had maybe been here since the 80s, who were feeling isolated, needed support, didn't understand the services and systems that existed. And so out of that need grew this great nonprofit, and they've been serving clients for a number of years in different capacities.

Speaker 3:

Do you know? So this started in 1995, do you? Know exactly what was the immediate need. I mean, was there like a plethora of needs that they were trying to address, or was there one specific need that caused them to mobilize, to start this organization?

Speaker 4:

I think it first started out of identifying a group of older Afghan women who are feeling very isolated due to language barrier, maybe access to each other and finding a way to bring them together to have a group, but at the same time also educating them about services and access to care.

Speaker 3:

So it's kind of a twofold Okay, how many people are part of this association, how many people serve the association, so the number of staff working, so it's a very small group doing really impactful work.

Speaker 4:

They have an executive director, they have an administrative assistant, so they're the only two full-time staff, and then they have three health promoters which are part-time staff. They have immigration specialist kind of consultant that they bring on as needed, and they have some volunteers.

Speaker 3:

So it's a really small group. Wow, yeah, and I mean Fremont has the largest, as far as I know, the largest population of Afghans in one city in North America.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, Afghan immigrants and refugees.

Speaker 3:

Definitely.

Speaker 5:

Wow, america. So I mean it's afghan immigrants and refugees. Yeah, definitely, wow. Do we have the main um? Is it they get accepted here? Or something about like the, the um, what are? The entrance to the united states?

Speaker 4:

that is their reason why and, from my understanding, a lot of them actually were brought, like in the recent since the fall of afghanistan in 2021, um, they were brought over to different places, including a lot of them have been processed through virginia, but there were also places in texas and I can't remember where else okay but they have heard or learned that there is a large group of afghans here, which means then they have their religious centers, they have the ethnic foods, the halal, you know the restaurants.

Speaker 4:

They wanted to come where community is, but unfortunately it's a very expensive place to come to.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that's exactly right. Yeah, I actually have been a part of a group that's been helping a lot of the Afghan refugees get settled here and I think one of the things that I was told like so the U? S government tried to do you know a big service to try to find a place for refugees to land and then they'd place them at different places around the country, whether it was like Michigan or Texas or Illinois or whatever. But then exactly what you said, like they would, there would be funding for those, those refugees to land in that particular community, but there's nobody in that community that, like it literally is being dropped into a place where nothing seems familiar.

Speaker 4:

Exactly.

Speaker 3:

And what I've been told by the people that I've worked with is that a lot of these refugees will make it find a way to get out here, where they know people that know people, or they are already connected to people and they'll just try to do it on their own. So then they kind of lose the support of the government that they had in coming out here, do you? Guys find that to be the case.

Speaker 4:

Yes, in many cases, yeah, yeah, and you know, or they'll finish out. And now they there and they're getting no more support. So then they say, well, what's the point of being here, right? And they come out this way yeah yeah, what is the so when?

Speaker 3:

so, when they get here like what are some of the main issues? What are some of the main things that you guys find yourself doing to help serve this demographic?

Speaker 4:

So the AEA, I've talked to them and I think the biggest things of course. First thing is housing, which is near impossible.

Speaker 4:

So just connecting them and really educating them about the reality of living here and considering at least moving out to the outskirts of California where maybe building a community out there. The other thing is for some of the AEA, although it's elderly association, they're serving people of all ages 18 and older, so then it's about finding a job, especially those who have education and have some idea, trying to help them get different things that they need, whether it's healthcare, depending on the age We've had school-age children being brought over and trying to connect them to schools and getting them the supplies they need, really just getting them linked to resources.

Speaker 3:

So why did your group choose the Afghan Elderly Association as your nonprofit to support in your class?

Speaker 4:

as your nonprofit to support in your class. So their executive director, Hamada Obeid, came to us and she did her pitch and basically shared the struggles that they've had with being able to bring back some of their programming since the pandemic. This group was really running some big programming in terms of social groups, socialization. They have a healthy aging program and it meets weekly and they were meeting in two separate sites.

Speaker 4:

One a larger site which had rent attached to it. They were getting funding from the county for a chef, an assistant chef and a special assistant to sort of help set up. It was a program that would run from 11 to 4.30. They would do exercise activities, have a balanced meal that was being overseen by an Alameda County nutritionist a dietician, excuse me and then they would have presentations from local whether it was doctors or agencies on topics that really affect these women and this particular group. The Healthy Aging Program is focused on women.

Speaker 1:

Afghan women.

Speaker 4:

Their other programming also includes men and people of all ages, but this was really focused on women 50 plus, because this is a group that they saw very isolated, oftentimes didn't have the education so they could not read and write in their own language. They needed a place to sort of be able to openly talk and freely speak. And then, during the pandemic, with all of the changes, you know, first of all they were the first group that had to be isolated.

Speaker 3:

Sure.

Speaker 4:

So that's, it Stay in your apartments or stay in your homes isolated.

Speaker 4:

So that's it Stay in your apartments or stay in your homes. We can't meet, and after two years it was really taking a toll. A lot of these women also have mental health issues coming out of trauma that they've experienced in Afghanistan and with trying to build a life here, and they were, seeing that, excuse me very depressed. They were trying to find ways to meet, so they were meeting in open air spaces spread out in lawn chairs if they could, but it was cold out, they couldn't have a meal, and for Afghans you know a lot of that culturally also is having a meal together.

Speaker 4:

That's exactly right so they came to us to ask for some support because again a lot of that funding went to like meals on wheels, food delivery pantries, which absolutely made sense.

Speaker 3:

Right.

Speaker 4:

So now they've been meeting, They've been doing it in a smaller group at our Lake Elizabeth Age Well Center and it's growing.

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Speaker 4:

And they're going to hit maximum capacity soon and they also have it for a very short period of time, so they can't do full programming like they used to. Okay. So, they came to us asking for support to raise funds so that they could bring back that other piece of the healthy aging program.

Speaker 5:

I see I'd just like to add to that as a process for their leadership. Fremont cohort we voted pretty much. We wrote our kind of like oh, what fields do we want to help out? Right? So it hit a lot of our tickers. We went for healthy services, women's support and food. Insecurity was the first main three things. So this is definitely Afghan Elderly Association.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that's great. That's great. Was there anything more that you felt personally that really caught your attention, which is why you would have cast your vote toward that? Definitely the immigration support as well, that's great, yeah, coming from that background, and it's at the Fremont Downtown Events Center. So tell me exactly what this is going to look like. Like who is invited, what's involved, like what are ways that people in our community could be a part of this. So tell me a little bit more about this event.

Speaker 4:

So this event is actually hopefully the capstone to what we're doing right now. We are actively out there fundraising. We're going to businesses, individuals, larger organizations going for. We're going to businesses, individuals, larger organizations going for grants, going to politicians to try and get support for this program. Our goal is to raise $40,000 so that they can bring back programming for one entire year.

Speaker 4:

After that, they're also looking at sustaining it through trying to go for some other grants. Our group is also not just trying to do the fundraising for them. We're trying to give them exposure. As Muriel said, she's done a lot for the social media portion for them. Setting all of that up, we've redone their website for them, you know. So trying to also teach them how to do some of this, because, again, everyone in this group is an Afghan who has been a refugee Wow and in fact, their administrative assistant. Now he only just arrived in 2020.

Speaker 4:

Everyone- in this group is an Afghan who has been a refugee and, in fact, their administrative assistant. Now he only just arrived in 2022. So they also have a lot to learn. So, in addition to raising those funds, we're trying to give them sort of that exposure teaching them the way, helping them network, getting these things in place. Then, at the event, we're going to hopefully be able to provide them a check of that $40,000.

Speaker 4:

But also we want the public to also not only the donors, but the public are welcome to join as well to learn more about who are these folks, what are their needs, what is going on, how can they get involved. Perhaps and there will be some of the you know know not only the staff, but some of the participants will be at our event so you can meet them and learn more that's great.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, I'd like to add that we've also kind of told Nasrat to join the. What's his position again? He's the administrative assistant yeah so Nas, we've urged him to join Leadership Fremont next year.

Speaker 4:

Oh, excellent, that's great. He could benefit from it too. That's awesome.

Speaker 3:

That's great. So just to be clear, so the public is able to go ahead and attend the event. Yes, okay. If they go to the AEA website there is a link to register for it, and we'll put it in the show notes as well, so that people can access it that way as well, but primarily you're focusing on people, that you're looking for donations and contributors to sponsors, I guess, to this program Absolutely, and also if they have a business.

Speaker 4:

It's going to be from 530 to 730 if you want to donate some appetizers from your restaurant. Yeah, or sponsors, or we're going to have some baskets you know that.

Speaker 1:

Um yeah for drawing.

Speaker 4:

So if anyone is interested in supporting that way. But also, if you just want to learn first, definitely go to their website okay, you'll learn a lot about the programs that they run, what they're trying to do you'll learn about about Leadership Fremont. We've got a page on the website just dedicated to Leadership Fremont. But come and meet, join us, come and meet folks, hear from people.

Speaker 5:

Come meet the women of AEA as well. They are lovely. One Saleha has already referred to me as her daughter.

Speaker 4:

I've met her twice. They're very loving people and very grateful and appreciative for the Go ahead.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, so I just wanted to share that. Leadership Fremont some of our participants have actually attended their healthy aging program that they hold every Wednesday.

Speaker 4:

Yes.

Speaker 5:

What times are those again, Marisha?

Speaker 4:

So it's from 1.30 to 4 at our Age Well Center, Lake Elizabeth. It is closed right now for Ramadan but they'll be resuming again on the 17th. Now for Ramadan, okay, but they'll be resuming again in the 17th and so Leadership at Fremont members cohort have been attending to understand what they're supporting. That's great, and, of course, they welcome them with open arms and feed them.

Speaker 5:

And you know that's a big piece. Yeah, you can't, you, they won't, they won't come up and eat until you've eaten. So, yeah, we've learned to come hungry, oh yeah.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I have some friends who are from Afghanistan and I will go to their house and if I have eaten, it's a big mistake for me to eat before I go to the house Because they will expect me to have all the room in my stomach available to them and more. So I get that and it's I mean I, I feel so, you know fortunate and blessed to be you know, given and treated, given food and treated that way, but it is you know I get that they, they want to they want to um, provide that, those meals for you as well, which is great, do you?

Speaker 3:

you find that like I love how you were talking about the women that are involved in the AEA Do you find that some of them, who've been here for a while, are volunteering or they're contributing their help and it's kind of like we're creating more of a perpetual stream of people who've gone through the program and then are still helping other women, or how does that? How does that look?

Speaker 4:

yeah, so if they're in the program themselves, um, a lot of times what they're doing is they're reaching out to folks who may be isolated also, I see, and bringing them along or letting one of the health promoters or hamada who was a former health promoter, now is the executive director know that there's somebody in need so they can reach out. Yeah, it's definitely a very community-based organization. The members are from the community, want to create community, want to continue community, and the agency is just trying to continue to support that and make sure everyone's wellness is the foremost thought.

Speaker 3:

That's great.

Speaker 5:

Just the firsthand experience of being there as well. I do often see the women getting their blood pressure checked there. They bring their medications and make sure that this is a common problem actually, that they take kind of like the same medication.

Speaker 4:

So actually, back in the day that's where the health promotion program came out of is that they saw, not only were they using the emergency rooms as a way for just even simple treatment because they didn't know any other way, they would see multiple doctors not knowing that they're all different primary cares and they're all providing the same let's say, blood pressure medication. So now they've taken three different medications for the same thing for the same thing and end up in the emergency room right so again, it was um the health promotion program, which is open to men and women yeah 50 and older.

Speaker 4:

They health promoters will do a lot of education, a lot of um, supporting access to care, accompanying them to medical appointments, making sure that they understand what is being said and that the follow through happens once they go home, whether it's with their caregivers, their family or if they're by themselves. Do you understand what you're supposed to?

Speaker 1:

be doing.

Speaker 4:

And they're checking in with them, like oftentimes weekly.

Speaker 3:

Wow.

Speaker 5:

So it's a lot of support oh yeah, that's great. Yeah, and you know like we have meals that are quick and easy for us to make.

Speaker 3:

But I find that we all know how it is, like there's meals that just kind of make you remind you of home and remind you of your mom's cooking or whatever it is you know. But then there's this food that's served to you and it's just like, yeah, I, yeah, I enjoy that, but I'm just not yeah.

Speaker 4:

And imagine that that home-cooked meal, but you're sitting by yourself eating it. That's right, it's different than when you're sitting with a group of people or at least one other person. And for a lot of these ladies, they may be having their meals by themselves, so at least they look forward to this one meal a week where they can sit with a group. And right now, unfortunately, because of this funding, they're having to pay half of the meal costs themselves.

Speaker 5:

And not only that, but all the other services that they offer there as well. That kind of changes around, so they do exercises and they also do kind of like arts and crafts there. So they also have to pay for those as well. I see, I see.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it's interesting, I think that, like so, I interviewed the director, writer, and then the producer and then the lead actress for the movie Fremont.

Speaker 4:

I don't know if you guys saw that. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I did watch it.

Speaker 3:

So Aneta was the lead actress and she was from Afghanistan. She was a refugee, was from Afghanistan.

Speaker 1:

She was a refugee.

Speaker 3:

so she wasn't really an actress before this movie, but she was the lead actress in this film and she talked about the experience of having to leave and flee from Afghanistan and I saw in her I mean she's young, but I saw in her this shift of what it means for her and for her community to be under this. You know, this cultural oppression I guess in in in that particular way. I don't necessarily understand what that's like.

Speaker 3:

I don't know what it's like to not be given an opportunity to be able to pursue something that I'm capable of or that I would dream of doing, and just being told, no, you can't like. It may seem obvious or it may seem completely accessible to the average American, but it's just not. I have been I don't want to say blown away, but close to blown away by the amount of nonprofits that we have working in our city to provide services for the community nonprofits that we have working in our city to provide services for the community.

Speaker 1:

And.

Speaker 3:

I often think, man, if they just had somebody who had this ability or this skill or the knowledge of how to do this, it would just do so much to help them.

Speaker 3:

So I think that being able to have that perspective of like I may not be able to do everything and I may not know how to write a grant, I may not know but I see the benefit of being able to be an advocate or being somebody who can help, come alongside them and find, you know, resource the right person or, you know, get them connected with the right organization that can help them, or you know whatever it is and help them, or whatever it is, because I think that there's a lot of people that are volunteering their time and energy and effort to do things that our community desperately needs.

Speaker 5:

It encourages you to really pay it forward. That's exactly right by the kindness of the nonprofits and the people around you willing to support you. You want to give back.

Speaker 3:

That's right, yeah, that's right. What about you, marisha?

Speaker 4:

Well, I've been very fortunate that Leadership Fremont has already helped me, because at the beginning of this year I changed positions. So it helped me move into. I'm a management analyst now. So instead of doing some of that direct work, I was doing direct work and then I did community work. Now I'm sort of overseeing. So I'm overseeing social service grants, and so I will still have sort of access to many nonprofits, because those are the groups that are coming to apply for these social service grants.

Speaker 5:

That's awesome. I think this is the perfect plug for Leadership Fremont, because I was promoted in December as well.

Speaker 2:

And that, yeah, we started our course in.

Speaker 3:

September I worked with operations If you want to take the next big step in whatever you're doing. Leadership Fremont, that's great.

Speaker 4:

Huge plug for that program.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, we have to do a lot of pitches and we're definitely practicing the pitch muscle, for sure, that's great, that's great. Well, what do you guys love about Fremont? What are your go-tos, what are your personal favorites about Fremont?

Speaker 4:

Food, the cuisine, the food the access of just the variety. Yeah, okay, it's really a diverse culture. I mean I came out of the Metro Detroit area which was at a lot of diversity, but coming here and just you can access anything and Fremont is huge.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, that's right, it is, it is. Yeah, you forget that's right, it is.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, you forget. And there's still open space to go, and, you know, take nature walks or, you know, try different cuisines.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, when someone tells you you know what food do you want, I kind of feel like Asian food right now. Which?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, that's right, yeah, yeah, yeah. What does that mean?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and even within different communities. We're talking about Afghanistan. You can go to the kebab house and they're all maybe from different parts of Afghanistan, and so again, it's not just which restaurant, but it's like which part of that country's cuisine do you want to enjoy?

Speaker 5:

Exactly what region? Yeah, exactly, Because it can have different flavors as well.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that's exactly right. One of my favorite podcasts that I listen to is called the Happiness Lab and it's a professor from Yale University that she just does all these. She teaches classes at Yale on happiness and happiness in life and that sort of thing. It's a great podcast. I really love her work, but she just decided to dedicate this series this season to understanding the happiest places.

Speaker 5:

For her.

Speaker 3:

It's the happiest places in the world. So Finland was just elected for the second or third year.

Speaker 5:

I was just going to ask which. So Finland was the happiest for like the second or third year. I was just going to ask which.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so Finland was the happiest country in the world. And so she interviews this guy who is part of the committee that does this study and gathers all this data and comes up with the final decision as to whether it is the happiest country in the world or not. Anyway, I'm saying that to say one of the things that he said was something along the lines of that I've been feeling when I hear that about Fremont. He's like when you talk, he said when you talk to people from Finland and they're told you're the happiest country in the world, they're like well, I don't know, I'm not sure there's got to be a better place. But then he said when you start asking them, what do you think about this thing that your country offers and what do you think about this? And he says what you find is there's two different sides of happiness. There's the happy that makes me feel like when, like the happiest place in the world is what Disneyland right, so I go there.

Speaker 1:

Why?

Speaker 3:

Because there's so much you know entertainment. But then what do you feel about? Like if I were to ask you this what do you feel about the access that you have to outdoor spaces? I love that about Fremont.

Speaker 1:

I can hike Mission.

Speaker 3:

Peak. I can hike Coyote Hills. I love that. It makes me very happy to know that I have these things. What do you think about the cuisine? I love it. It makes me happy to know that I have options. What do you think about the parks? I love the parks. No-transcript. Happiest, um. He basically says if you have a country that claims and they like, they like, lorded over people, we are the happiest he goes. They're not going to remain in that position very long, because they don't understand what true happiness comes from, so I think you guys, I think you guys proved my point and that is you're like I

Speaker 5:

don't know but I do like this and I do like this, and I do like this, and it's like well that's probably why you know all the things that you mentioned, like. You know hiking and food and all this stuff, like takes us back to accessibility that's right you know, and that's when you know that the society in a community is happy if they're getting access that's right, all that's good like, yeah, we can have all these things, but if we can't go there and it's like you have to pay a certain amount of money to get there, then definitely not, and that's what the AEA offers for sure.

Speaker 3:

That's great. I love that, and I think that one of the things that we often think of when we think of what's the happiest is like we automatically think of what do we don't have, what do I don't?

Speaker 1:

have access to.

Speaker 3:

But I think we need to stop and pay attention, Like we do have access to a lot.

Speaker 5:

Yes, yes.

Speaker 3:

And we do have the opportunity to you know, to access these things, especially for these marginalized groups which I think is great.

Speaker 4:

And I think it's also a perspective, because there's a lot of negativity in the world.

Speaker 3:

Right.

Speaker 4:

And it's hard to function sometimes if you just sit and dwell upon that. That's good, yeah, so sometimes you have to look to see what is that happiness? And if you really focus or point those things out, then people realize like, oh, okay, yeah, that's great.

Speaker 3:

I love that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

And that's one of the things that I want to do with the podcast is to is to help people realize that there's so many, so many good things, there's so many good people in our community, and I just want to be able yeah, there's certain things that we're lacking. There's certain things that we're missing. But look at everything we have, look at everything that we have around us and look at the people we have around us.

Speaker 4:

And maybe look at what some of these people have had to go through to get here. That's right that we maybe have taken for granted. That's exactly right?

Speaker 3:

Well, that's great. Thank you, guys, for joining me.

Speaker 4:

This has been really really great.

Speaker 1:

Is there anything?

Speaker 3:

else that we need to share with people before we go. Any of the links or anything else that people need to be made aware of, we will put in the show notes, but is there anything else that we need to know or that you would like to share with the listeners?

Speaker 4:

We just ask for your support in supporting the AEA. They're a very wonderful, impactful group group and they just need a little support.

Speaker 3:

Love that. I love that.

Speaker 4:

Yeah.

Speaker 5:

Just to add again, the donor recognition night is on May 16th, 5.30 PM at the Fremont Downtown Event Center. So free for the public and general admissions, so come.

Speaker 4:

Perfect, that's great. Join us and go to the Afghan Elderly Association website.

Speaker 1:

Yes, you can learn more. There you go, that's great. Thank us, and go to the Afghan Elderly Association website. Yes, you can learn more.

Speaker 3:

There you go, that's great, thank you. Thank you guys, I appreciate it.

Speaker 5:

Appreciate it.

Speaker 1:

Zahida Barikzoy, another member of this organization, has been a teacher for 22 years in Zarguna.

Speaker 5:

She says she worked as a teacher at the Zarguna High School for 22 years. I am happy because I am at home. When I come here, I talk to my friends, we talk, we go somewhere. If we see these mothers for a long time, we will listen to each other. We have a very close relationship. We always talk to each other.

Speaker 1:

This episode was hosted and produced by Ricky B. I'm Gary Williams, Andrew Kvet is the editor. Scheduling and pre-interviews by Sarah S. Be sure to subscribe wherever it is that you listen so you don't miss an episode. You can find everything we make, the podcast and all of our social media links at thefremontpodcastcom. Join us next week on the Fremont Podcast.

Speaker 4:

They have heard or learned that there is a large group of Afghans here, which means then they have their religious centers. They have the ethnic foods, the halal, you know the restaurants. They wanted to come where community is, but unfortunately it's a very expensive place to come to. First thing is housing, which is near impossible. So it's just connecting them and really educating them about the reality of living here and considering at least moving out to the outskirts of California where maybe building a community out there.

Speaker 5:

This is a Muggins Media Podcast.

Leadership Fremont and Afghan Elderly Association
Leadership Fremont Class of 24