To Civic Nebraska’s students in Lincoln’s Campbell Elementary Community Learning Center, Marjan Vasaji is a daily dose of kindness and generosity. As a new American who came to the United States in 2014, she also is an example of perseverance and hard work. We caught up with Marjan on a recent weekday at Campbell to learn more about why she loves being a part of the Campbell CLC.
I am from Iran. I’m not Muslim, and in Iran, that means we cannot go to (college) or join the military. It was hard to live like this, and so my husband and I decided to bring our two sons here. For freedom.
We agreed they should go to college. So we brought them to the US. Now my older son (20) is graduating from college, and my younger son (11) wants to be a doctor. I’m so happy for them.
I’ve been learning English and I hope to continue to get better. I started working at Campbell in 2017. My teachers and the (Campbell) staff have helped me a lot.
My typical day? It’s full of kids, kids, kids. As I said, I’m a mother, so I want to help (the Campbell students). I like to spend time with them and help them to succeed.
I work everywhere (at the CLC). I just want to be helpful, you know? I want to help the staff as much as I can. They are a very special group.
I don’t have a car, so I walk to work. It’s about a 20-minute walk. The CLC is in my neighborhood and that’s another reason I love working here so much.
We have so many kids here, and each of them is so different. While they might not be the same, the love we give them is. Together, we do it – every day.
Sometimes, kids will (light up) and say “Ms. Marjan! Ms. Marjan!” I’ll look at them and they’ll smile, and that makes me so happy. If my day has been hard, when I come in and I see those faces, that changes.
Am I a role model for kids who are not (originally) from the United States? Maybe. Sometimes. I hope so.
Our CLC is like a chain. A chain made by hard work, communication, cooperation, trust, and love. We have hard days. But there are so many reminders of why we do this job all around us. Hundreds of them, every day.
Learn more about Civic Nebraska’s Youth Civic Leadership program.