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Bayside high schooler awarded scholarship for volunteer efforts at senior homes

Benjamin Cardozo High School senior, Aliya Masihuddin, is one of five teens across the country presented with a $1,000 scholarship at the virtual 16th Annual Glammy Scholarship Awards on May 30 organized by the GlamourGals Foundation. (Photo courtesy of GlamourGals Foundation Inc.)

BY CARLOTTA MOHAMED

A Benjamin Cardozo High School senior won a national scholarship for her volunteer efforts providing companionship and beauty makeovers to women in senior homes in Queens. 

Aliya Masihuddin is one of five teens across the country presented with a $1,000 scholarship at the virtual 16th Annual Glammy Scholarship Awards on May 30 organized by the GlamourGals Foundation.

The nonprofit organization inspires and organizes teens to combat elder isolation through one-on-one makeovers and manicures at senior homes while granting scholarships to exemplary volunteers within the organization. 

“I am truly honored and grateful for this meaningful award,” Masihuddin said. “Looking back to my first makeover, makes me realize how much I have grown through this amazing organization.” 

She began GlamourGals as a timid freshman terrified of experiences, she said. But the new experience transformed her into a great leader realizing her love for volunteer work. 

Masihuddin, who will be attending CUNY City College’s Sophie Davis BS/MD program this fall, has gone above and beyond as the president of her GlamourGals chapter raising awareness for the GlamourGals mission, helping to ensure that the seniors she served at Ozanam Hall in Bayside felt “valued, appreciated and beautiful” after every visit. 

Though she was scared during her first makeover with a senior who complained about the texture of the first nail polish she selected, Masihuddin showed her that she was ready to listen and be a friend. 

“It totally changed her demeanor and this is the great part about being a GlamourGal — she told her adviser that I was the kindest volunteer she had ever met,” Masihuddin said. 

After experiencing how a simple act of kindness can spread endless positivity, Masihuddin was encouraged to further GlamourGals’ mission of ending senior loneliness. 

Masihuddin and her fellow GlamourGals board members began creating crafts, such as paper flowers and glitter ornaments to give to the seniors. 

“It showed how much we love and care for them,” Masihuddin said. “During these fun and enriching experiences, it made my dedication to GlamourGals grow even stronger.”

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Masihuddin led her chapter and the ‘My Dear Friend’ campaign sending over 100 digital cards to seniors at a local nursing home. 

For Masihuddin, the meaningful scholarship from GlamourGals will help to alleviate some of the financial stress that comes along with being on the expensive journey to becoming a physician, she said. 

It’s a career path she was able to confirm her interest in due to her volunteer work as a GlamourGal. 

“Overall, being a GlamourGal means a variety of things to me, including being an essential part of the community, being a kind compassionate volunteer, and most importantly, an intergenerational friend to countless seniors,” Masihuddin said. 

This story first appeared on QNS.com

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