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Chaldean Teens Make A Big Difference in Helping Those in Need
By Brenda Hermiz :: Saturday, December 6, 2008 :: 44956 Views :: Community & Culture

Massachusetts, USA – In a society where consumerism and the “me” driven commercialization of the holidays have driven most teens to think of only themselves.  However, there still shine beacons of light.  Out in wilderness of the teen jungle there are more teens than Disney and mainstream media give credit to for their maturity, concern, and activism in helping others. 

In Michigan a group of well coordinated Chaldean teens continue to make a big difference to those in need.  Better known as CT-Squared or Chaldean Teens Coming Together the group of teenagers put their faith into practice.  Unlike the stereotypical teens splashed across TV newscasts or written about in belittling terms, this group silently works to help others.  The group of middle and high school aged volunteers serve breakfast, help feed the hungry, collect food donations for food banks, organize family outings, fundraises for those in need, and actively serves the community.

Another sparkle of impressive deeds and godly light pours out across the great lakes.  Ashley Bolis, 17, a Junior at Lowell Catholic High School in Massachusetts is dedicated to keeping folks warm in the winter.   Bolis founded Project Warm & Fuzzy, a program where she collects new coats, hats, scarves, gloves, socks and baby items to donate to Lazarus House, a shelter for the homeless.

Bolis has been collecting clothing for the homeless since she was in middle school. Far from friends and never forgetting the lessons she learned about the rewards of helping others.  Bolis demonstrates that any person, young or old, can make a difference.  On Friday, Bolis received a Christ Our Servant Award for her contributions to the shelter in helping the homeless.  .

Project Warm & Fuzzy has already established impressive contracts with the Women of Riverside Assembly of God Church where they knit sweaters and jackets all year round.  Bolis has also recruited the help of a Brownie Troop at Timony School, a nearby elementary school to collect baby items. 

The young teen routinely makes announcements in her church and places reminders in the church bulletin.  Following a similar strategy as the Chaldean Teens Coming Together group Bolis places boxes in front of the church enterance where people can drop off their donations.

In the first year there Bolis collected 300 articles of clothing; the second year, 1,600; the third year was 3,000; and last year, 5,000. 

Many would agree that this is more than enough for a teenager.  Not Bolis. She says more can be done.  The young teen also makes time to serve food at the Good Shepherd Center, part of Lazarus House, with her mother and grandmother.  The family also helps out together at the Lazarus House food pantry.

When asked what she learned from being so involved and starting her Wram and Fuzzy program Bolis says, “I learned that anything that seems impossible, can be possible.”

When you ask parents of Chaldean teens what they find most impressive.  Many say the maturity, understanding, and responsibility shown by their teens after being involved in programs like Chaldean Teens Coming Together. 

The parents say programs like CT-Squared teach their kids that it is cool to help others and how important it is to make the right choices in life.  Parents relish the transformation of their young teens.  Parents are amazed at the difference a few summers can make to help shed off the notorious selfishness, egos, and attitudes of the common teen.  A gift, they say, the whole family enjoys. 

St. Joseph, MI USA

St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church
2442 E. Big Beaver Rd.
Troy, MI 48083
Tel: (248) 528-3676
Fax: (248) 524-1957

Congregation Organizer:
Rev. Michael J. Bazzi

Church Constructing Pastor:
Rev. Sarhad Y. Jammo

Current Pastor:
Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Ayad Hanna

 Current Pastor: Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Msgr. Zouhair Toma (Kejbou) was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1947.  He was ordained a priest in Baghdad, Iraq in 1968, and accepted his first assignment to serve the community of Baquba.  The Monsignor’s leadership skills and organizational talents along with his mastery of theology were immediately evident.  He later assisted Sts. Peter and Paul in Al-Salehia, and St. George in New Baghdad.

In August, 1978 Monsignor Toma was called to serve the growing community of persecuted Chaldeans finding refuge in Australia.   Being the fist Chaldean priest to arrive in Australia he quickly established a parish for the Chaldeans in Sydney to serve their social and spiritual needs.  The parish was named after St. Thomas the Apostle and built a rectory. 

In 1989, for his incredible work he was granted the title of Monsignor, Chaldean Patriarchal Vicar for Australia and New Zealand.  Continuing his passionate work to serve the Chaldean community the Monsignor moved the Parish Center to a more accessible location and built a large church campus featuring a modern community center, residence quarters, and administrative offices in 1995. 

In 2003, Monsignor Toma added a magnificent church to replace the previous one in order to serve the fast growing community and also opened two other centers.  The first was Our Lady Guardian of Plants in Melbourne, and the second was Mar Addai the Apostle in Auckland, New Zealand.  Mar Addai in New Zealand included two very large churches along with rectories and community centers.  Overseeing the Patriarchal Vicariate for 28 years, he managed to inspire six more priests to help minister to the fast growing Chaldean community. 

In August 2006, Monsignor chose to assist the St. Thomas the Apostle Diocese in the U.S. as more Catholic churches were being built in America and address the growing need.  On October 2006, Monsignor was incardinated and appointed Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Troy.