Running For A Change

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Written By Joe Vernice

The people of Iran, especially its Jewish population, have experienced many hardships in the past decades, with many people struggling to even put food on the table. This problem hits close to home for Great Neck residents Brittany Chadi, her fiancé Cyrus Nazmiyal and his brother Sina Nazmiyal. Chadi, a Jewish-Persian American, a self-published author and rising second year law student, grew up on Long Island and felt very inspired by her Persian culture. Cyrus, an avid athlete, who works for his family’s business making homemade rugs, felt very connected to Iran growing up. Together with Cyrus’s brother Sina, a pharmaceutical litigation attorney, they felt that they had to do something “to give back to the soil that raised our mothers and fathers” and to “give back to a culture that we feel very connected to.”

The three spearheaded the formation of a new nonprofit organization called I-RAN for Iran, or IFI. This organization combines the founders’ love for running as well as their goal of helping the people of Iran through a hunger crisis. Chadi felt that this nonprofit would be a great way to “facilitate the type of creative relationships between the citizens of Iran and art mediums, so they can create the type of culture that we were raised on.” In terms of goals, Cyrus said that he wanted to “sustain [the people of Iran] in any way we can.”

From left: Cyrus Nazmiyal, Brittany Chadi, and Sina Nazmiyal (Contributed photo)

The group is currently working with synagogues, charities and orphanages in Iran in order to give aid to those in need. Moms Against Poverty (MAP) is a non-governmental organization and charity that Cyrus felt was run with the highest form of integrity. MAP is not a religiously affiliated group, as the three felt that their goal should be “Jews giving back to Iran, not solely for Jews,” but “for social justice in Iran, to fight poverty.” Every dollar that goes to MAP is audited by the Treasury of the United States in order to ensure that it is going only to the people in need.

As an avid athlete Cyrus felt that IFI should host charity runs to raise money for Moms Against Poverty. The first such event will be held on Aug. 25 and it will be a six mile run (10K), in a loop around Great Neck.

“It’s a beautiful walk around the west shore and east shore of Great Neck,” Cyrus said. “It’s a run I do every Saturday morning.”

There will be prizes for the people that come in first through 10th place, as well as sponsorships and places to make donations. The group felt that they were “adamant on wanting high school athletes to participate,” as it would allow them to connect with the culture that Brittany, Cyrus and Sina themselves grew up in.

The run itself is for all ages, however, and Sina said, “it would be a beautiful sight to see 70-, 80-year old refugees from Iran walking, as well.”

The run will take about 45 minutes to an hour for runners and about two to three hours for walkers, though those in attendance do not have to complete the whole thing and can stop any time along the way. The three founders of IFI hope that they will be “influencing our generation so we as a whole will be able to impact that society” and help those in need in Iran.

—Joe Vernice is a contributing writer for Anton Media Group

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