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Chaldean Teens Make A Big Difference in Helping Those in Need
By Brenda Hermiz :: Saturday, December 6, 2008 :: 34152 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. 

Sacred Heart Parish, MI USA


Sacred Heart Parish
310 W. Seven Mile. Rd.
Detroit, MI 48203
Tel: (313) 368-6214
Fax: (313) 891-0132

The parish was established by Rev. Jacob Yasso in 1973

Rev. Jacob Yasso

Rev. Jacob Yasso was born in the village of Telkaif, Iraq.  After completing high school he was recruited to Rome and Urbaniana University where he completed his Masters Degree in philosophy and Theology.  Fr. Yasso was ordained a priest in 1960 and served the Diocese of Mosul, where he worked in the public school system. Fr. Yasso was also asked by the Patriarch to teach at the Patriarchal Seminary in Baghdad, where he served as administrator, professor of philosophy and religious life, and rector of the minor seminary. 

In 1964, Fr. Yasso was appointed to the United States to serve the growing Chaldean community in Detroit.  There he served as the 4th Pastor of Mother of God Parish.  .  In 1972, the Patriarch charged Fr. Yasso with building a new parish for the Chaldeans in Detroit.  In taking great pains to care for the community Fr. Yasso accelerated the development of a new church and community center.  In 1975, Fr. Yasso completed the development of Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit and shortly thereafter he added the Chaldean Center of America in 1980, 

A few years later in 1982, Fr. Yasso was asked to assist the late Fr. Kattoula at St. Peter’s Church in San Diego, CA.  Before long, Fr. Yasso was once again recruited to Rome to study new Canon Law of the Church.  While in Rome Fr. Yasso completed his third Masters Degree in Church Law, making him the only Chaldean priest trained in Canon Law. 

In 1988, the Patriarch and Vatican authorities asked Fr. Yasso to travel to Canada and establish a parish and community center.  While there he served as a Tribunal Judge for the Archdiocese of Toronto.  Four years later Fr. Yasso returned to Sacred Heart church in Detroit to help care for the remaining Chaldean community residence in the Detroit area.  To this day, Fr. Yasso continues to serve as the parish pastor creating activities and advising the City of Detroit on community related matters. 

Fr. Yasso is a member of the International WYCLIF Bible translators, since 1975, and has completed the translation of the New Testament from Greek and Aramaic into Arabic and spoken Chaldean.   The publication of his scholarly work is set to be released soon.