Sabrina Chishti's Biography
Sabrina Haroon Chishti was born and raised in South Florida.
She was an active volunteer in the South Florida local community and Masjids. She taught elementary aged students for 5 years in Islamic weekend schools.
In 2005-2007 she held the vice president and chair of women's affairs position for the Muslim Student Organization at Florida Atlantic University.
In 2010, she was nominated by the college student body for the FAU Presidents Award, for her efforts and world impact on providing aid to Pakistani flood victims.
Inspired by her father and twin brother, she pursued a degree in business. She received her MBA in 2010 from the executive program at FAU. She also holds a bachelors degree in child psychology.
Shortly after, she opened the first training center for Breyers Ice Cream in Coral Springs, Fl.
In 2013, she married and moved to Chicago, IL to start her family. She worked in education, both in healthcare and early childhood education- where she created S.T.E.A.M. programs.
In 2019, she formed her company, S.T.E.A.M. Educators, an afterschool program proivder in Chicagoland schools and park districts.
In 2019-2020, she was an authorized licensed facilitator for TinkRworks, Chicago's largest STEAM program provider.
Here she taught programs such as "Build-A-Buddy and STEAM Art Electric," which included TinkRcad programming, coding, engineering, wiring and more.
During the COVID pandemic, she started to teach private early enrichment sessions to preschool aged children who lacked the opportunity to attend school due to school closures.
These students inspired her and enabled her to be creative again.
"Teaching young children online is challenging in of itself. I had to come up with interactive methodologies to keep my young students engaged online while truly trying to achieve learning goals. This sparked my creativity and reignited the artist in me that was put on hold for so many years." says Sabrina.
As a mother of 3 young children, Sabrina's hands were full.
"I guess one good thing did come out of the pandemic, it gave me the opportunity to finally write and illustrate my first book." she said.
"The story behind 'Hide and Sneak' is pretty cute. It's a true story and this exact storyline played out between my son and I.
When I sat down to write, it started to flow out in rhymes.
It was hilarious at first, that my 1 year old toddler hid behind a teddy bear while playing hide and seek. As a mother and teacher of young kids, it's unusual that a one year old can conceptualize the idea of the game, use critical thinking skills to find a hiding place and execute his thoughts into an action that makes sense. For his age, it was profound to witness!
That was the most intriguing part of the story and I had to write it down!" Sabrina exclaimed.
As an artist, Sabrina creates with purpose and meaning in her work. She didn't want to draw a story, but wanted to create art that would impact children's literature. She felt that children's literature lacks a display of Muslim characters in story and picture books.
Sabrina explains, "I started wearing the hijab, the Islamic head scarf, in 2010. I have noticed that children are apprehensive around me at first. They ask questions as to what it is and why I wear it. However, after a few minutes of interacting with me, my students forgot all about what's on my head and truly enjoy my company.
I wanted to display this in my book through my art illustrations.
The goal is to create familiarity for young children who aren't acquainted with the hijab and Muslim characters. The intention is to eliminate any fears, concerns, and grievances they may feel by creating happy memories. I want children to assimilate themselves with people of other faiths-especially Muslims, and notate that we all play, bond and love- equally."
Sabrina Haroon Chishti is a Muslim Author and Illustrator who is on a mission to create a foundation for children where they can accept people for who they are regardless of race, religion and cultural appearance.
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