Continuing with the Clean and Green profiles, not only do we get to highlight people who are living cleanly and greenly, but it's also an opportunity to give you a snapshot into the lives of our incredible Clean Team members! We're the ones you see on the Community Site, talk to on the phone and over emails, and the more we can give you faces with the names and share what we're passionate about, the happier we are! We love what we do and we love sharing our own journeys with this amazing community; so next up: the wonderful Hema Shah!
Q: Along with being a mom, how else would you define your employment (paid or unpaid)? Since childhood days my work, whether paid or unpaid, always centered around contributing and making a difference to society. I love work that is enjoyable as well as spiritually fulfilling: wildlife preservation and sustainable tourism, floral arranging, promoting a Clean and Green lifestyle. I volunteer at local temples and churches, a local assisted living center, local school fund raising events and education projects on Africa and give moral support to cancer patients.
Q: Best part about being a mom? I cannot fathom life without children! Watching them grow, learn, make mistakes and turn into young adults! Most of all I love learning from them. I tell my two boys IF I ever grow up; I want to be like them!!
Q: How many kids do you have and ages? Neer, turns 23 in July, graduating from Drexel University in Engineering in June and Namir, 19, is a sophomore at Stanford University.
And now. . .
Q: What were your kids' favourite meals growing up? My boys developed an international palette at a young age, as we prepare dishes from all over the world! However, Turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, creamed spinach and corn followed by home made creamy pumpkin pie was probably one of their favorites. They loved a good Thanksgiving meal even it wasn't thanksgiving!
Q: What are you most proud of? My children and what they have achieved with limited resources and many challenges at such a young age. They are TRULY my pride and joy!
Q: What are some tips for raising children as eco-friendly as possible? From a young age, we involved our children in growing vegetables every summer, creating new dishes from left over foods, recycling everything, walking to stores or the library, taking short showers, picking up trash everywhere etc. (one time, an elderly gentleman was so impressed when Neer (then age 4) picked up a can of soda and put it in the trashcan that he came up and gave him a dollar!) Needless to say this became a regular practice for him! We used up any and everything in the house for their school projects which not only saved us money and some trees but made them creative and impressed their teachers as well! Motto: Motivate and you will create!
In a country where we see (or chose to see) an abundance of everything, it is important to expose our children to the way of life in less fortunate communities where even fresh water is a luxury. Take them to soup kitchens to volunteer and don't be afraid to tell them that in some communities people live on less than a dollar a day or that they dont know when they will have their next meal. This will develop their appreciation and compassion and they will then voluntarily create their own eco-friendly practices to save the earth!
Q: Do you have a garden? Yes : most people pick a house with a garden, I pick a garden with a house! We love gardening and grow seasonal flowers, plants and for the past 12 years have been growing my own herbs and vegetables in the summer and puree and freeze all the extras in September before freeze sets in.
Q: Favourite part of spring? The vibrant colors of the daffodils, tulips, pansies and the fresh crispy air and sunshine that is so energizing!
Q: What is your ideal weekend? As a family we love to travel, discover scenic places, take long walks, spend time with friends and family and enjoy good food! Any combination of these makes for a perfect weekend!
Q: What was the last thing you ate? Indian savory pancakes made from pureed sprouted raw moong beans, brown rice, filtered water, flavored with scallions, grated ginger, jalapenos and a little flax meal, cooked in coconut oil with a generous helping of freshly made cilantro chutney with lemon juice!
Hema Shah was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya and moved to England in 1984. In 1986 she was transferred to the Philadelphia by her employer as a Specialist Travel Consultant on Africa, where she continued to promote tours to her beloved continent. When offered the opportunity to join the Clean Team, driven with her passion for maintaining optimal health through living a "clean life" she was convinced this was her next calling to make a difference. With a vision of continuing to contribute to society, she happily joined this amazing organization in 2011 and has been rocking our community ever since. We're psyched to have her!