Fasting with Friends: Osceola Employees Support Each Other Through Ramadan

Natali Shulterbrondt, counselor; Valentina Shulterbrondt (Natali’s daughter); Alex Torres-Hernandez, coordinator, program advisor; Heidi Ovalles, career advisor; Catherine Rivas, coordinator, ATLAS access lab; and Cindy Alas (non-employee) after iftar the post-fast meal.

A Message from Kathleen Plinske, President, Osceola, Lake Nona, and Poinciana Campuses

Every year, Muslims around the world fast from food and drink every day from dawn to sunset during the month of Ramadan, which is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. This year, Ramadan runs from Sunday, May 5 – Tuesday, June 4 or Wednesday, June 5, 2019.

A group of Osceola Campus employees decided to support their coworkers observing Ramadan by fasting with them for a day. For the first half-day Friday, everyone in the group woke up at 4:30 a.m. to have a pre-fast meal, known as suhoor, then got together at 8:12 p.m. for a meal, known as iftar, to break the fast together. Xavier Humphrey, coordinator, internship and workforce services, said, “I had thought about fasting before, but I did it this time to show support to my work-study student, Laila Hamza. I also wanted to experience the cultural side of it. Now, I have a deeper understanding of the dedication Muslims have toward their spirituality. It makes me want to learn more.”

Counselor Natali Shulterbrondt shared, “Through this experience, I learned that fasting is more than creating a connection with yourself and a higher power; it is about forming connections with the community around you.” Career Advisor Heidi Ovalles mentioned, “I decided to fast for a day to show solidarity with my coworkers, and, even though I follow a different religion, I felt a deep sense of connection throughout the process.”

Counselor Alina Siddiqui shared, “As a Muslim, it was a humbling experience to see my coworkers fast with me. It reminded me of the excellent community of support we have at the college, especially Osceola Campus!”

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