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MAS-Social Services Foundation

Our Mission

MAS-Social Services Foundation is a non-profit that aims to aid families at large and the Muslim community in particular with their social services needs.

Our Vision

The MAS-Social Services Foundation strives to be at the forefront of the community’s social services needs and to support the community in attaining the overall well-being of individuals and families.

Meet Our Team

Executive Director

Gulshan Yusufzai

Gulshan’s experience as a refugee from Afghanistan and multicultural exposure was brought about by living in three different countries during her early years. Her early childhood was interrupted by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and subsequent displacement of her family as refugees to Pakistan. She came to the United States as a nine-year-old and stayed in New York for a brief period before settling in Sacramento, California. She finished her high school in Sacramento before going to the University of California, Davis to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Government.

It came relatively natural to Gulshan to develop an interest in issues related to community development and social services catering to different underserved groups in the society. To this end, in 2004-2008 she worked for the California Institute for Mental Health, a non-profit specializing in mental health services through training, technical assistance, research, and policy development. In 2009-2012, she was the Deputy Director of the California Network of Mental Health Clients, a statewide non-profit focusing on advocacy and program development for the mental health client/consumer community.

In October 2013, she joined MAS-SSF as an Executive Director. She hopes to increase the representation of the underserved groups in the local Muslim community and enable more resource allocation at the state and federal level as well as within local communities to meet their needs.

Outreach & Resource Coordinator

Maha Salem

Maha became a MAS-SSF employee 2021. She was introduced to the organization and was impressed with their team and the work they were doing. Initially, she developed and conducted workshops to raise awareness about Covid prevention. Post-Covid, her responsibilities include representing MAS-SSF at outreach events, creating materials to support all programs and events, handling social media and other communications to the community, and encouraging participation in events. Additionally, she conducts monthly education committee meetings.

Maha was born in Saudi Arabia and grew up in Egypt. She earned her Master of Fine Arts degree from Helwan University and worked as a fine art instructor. For many years, she has been an active artist selling her artwork. In 2020 she completed her training in Counseling and the certified Peer Support program to become a peer support counselor.

Maha enjoys spending time in nature and traveling to different countries to learn about their arts and cultures.

Coordinator Amala Youth Hopeline

Roshelle Czar

Roshelle joined MAS-SSF to work on its Covid Program in 2022 then became Youth Coordinator for theAMALA Youth Hopeline</a> when the Covid program concluded. She leads the AMALA program as a certified peer specialist and a domestic violence counselor. She represents MAS-SSF at numerous events while managing a team of volunteer counselors.

Roshelle was awarded her bachelor’s degree in Women’s & Gender Studies from Sacramento State University in May 2023. Her professional experience includes working in the educational policy sector at the State Capitol and in the mental health field at the Women’s Resource Center and My Sister’s House.

During her free time, she enjoys traveling around the United States and especially enjoys time in Washington, DC. and trying food from different cultures; Mediterranean cuisine leads the list of favorites.

Lead Peer Counselor Amala Youth Hopeline

Ghezal Karimi

Ghezal began working with MAS-SSF in February 2023 and serves as a Peer Support Specialist and Lead Peer Counselor for the Amala Youth Hopeline. She’s an Afghan American who immigrated to the United States at 11 years old. Ghezal is a third-year undergraduate at UC Davis majoring in Psychology and Economics with the goal of becoming a Clinical Psychologist and working with Muslim youth.

She is active with mental health organizations including the Beautiful Mind Project which focuses on de-stigmatizing mental health issues within the Muslim community, and as an ambassador for Aggie Mental Health at UC Davis. Also at UC Davis, she is involved in psychological research with different labs. She enjoys teaching and as one of the first tutors in the evolving women’s education movement she virtually teaches English to girls in Afghanistan providing access to an education—a right they have been denied.

Graphic Designer Amala Hopeline

Shiza Mughal

Shiza joined MAS-SSF in June 2023 as Graphic Designer for the Amala Youth Hopeline and as a peer counselor. She plays a pivotal role in creating visually compelling concepts and using them in promotional flyers, social media postings and other outlets.

Shiza is a Pakistani-American who immigrated to the United States at the age of 11 and is driven by a desire to make her parents proud. She is a UC Davis undergraduate majoring in Biological Sciences. Her focus is on mental health and she is dedicated to serving the Muslim youth community. In her spare time, she finds joy in traveling and watching Korean dramas.


Debbie Mejia

Debbie was born and raised in San Jose. She graduated from West Valley College with her Associate in Arts degree in Business while working full-time. Debbie worked in the accounting field for nine years with manufacturing companies, law firms and a real estate broker. After becoming a mother, she decided her full-time priority was raising her child. Eight years later, she chose to return to the work force and became an independent consultant. She has worked with many nonprofits since 2017 impeccably maintaining their books.

Debbie joined MAS-SSF in October of 2018 as its bookkeeper. She resides in Roseville with her family and three cats and enjoys photography and traveling--Hawaii is a favorite destination.

Marketing Coordinator

Ann Bettencourt

Ann Bettencourt joined MAS-SSF in October 2023 bringing more than 20 years of marketing experience to the foundation. Born and raised in San Jose, Ann moved to Colorado in the 1990’s and completed her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Colorado. Ann has served clients and employers by producing case studies, writing blogs, writing website content, designing collateral, generating publicity, writing and managing social media content, and other marketing activities.

Previous work experience includes seven years of marketing oil and gas data, products and services for IHS Energy, six years producing case studies for commercial roofer materials company Johns Manville, six years elevating the awareness of large format printer SpeedPro Denver through traditional and online outlets, and three years promoting manufactured devices for Wilkerson Corporation. While living in Denver she enjoyed getting into the Rockies often and scaled a few 14ers and 13ers with the Colorado Mountain Club. She’s happy to be back in California closer to family.

Program Director

Samiya Malik

Samiya oversees numerous programs and departments including Amanah House, Al-Afia for Seniors, Community Education, Shifa for Youth, the Amala Youth Hopeline, Marketing, and IT. She works closely with the Executive Director to ensure the continued integration of quality, compassion and efficiency throughout all programs provided by MAS-SSF.

Her contributions in previous roles centered around operations to ensure quality in services, staff engagement, program expansion, training, and curriculum development. In the non-profit sector, Samiya worked in the densely urban community of Trenton, New Jersey from 2015-2018, where she provided outreach services, family support and parenting education to drive under-served populations towards successful outcomes. She also provided psycho-social group counseling to support mental health, wellness and education. Her previous work experience allows her to ensure that services are developed, managed and provided through the lens of Trauma Informed Care in a culturally competent manner. Samiya has also worked extensively with individuals afflicted with intellectual and developmental disabilities in both collegiate and social service programs.

She earned her Bachelor's degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from William Paterson University in New Jersey in 2015.

Samiya lived on the East Coast for most of her life, relocating to the Sacramento area in early 2024 when she joined MAS-SSF. She values family, networking and being growth-oriented. She enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, biking, and exploring new places.

Lead Peer Specialist

Shaista (Najmi) Jaffri

Najmi is one of the proud founding members of MAS-SSF, serving this organization since 2007 in several roles. She currently acts as a Lead Peer Counselor for the Shifa for Today program, is a member of the MAS-SSF Evaluation Committee, and has had a seat on the board for a collective 10 years. She identified the need locally for senior mental health support then worked with the group that wrote the grant proposals to develop what became the Shifa for Today program.

Najmi holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Karachi University and has used her education to help many organizations and people. She was a California MHSA Multicultural Coalition Emerging Leader and led a mental health awareness project for National Alliance on Mental Illness. Her volunteer work includes four years at the Roseville school district in special needs classrooms while her children attended. She has also volunteered with Friendly Visitors—an organization that connects elderly people with companionship through in-home visits to play games and talk about life experiences. As a Court-Appointed Special Advocate she has spent time with children who had parents in conflict and then reported on the child’s wellbeing to the courts.

Najmi recalls informally serving as a counselor to family and friends from a young age and has found advocating for society’s most vulnerable – the young and the old – one of her greatest passions in life. Her hobbies include knitting, sewing, reading, music, and following current events. She has resided in the Sacramento area since 1993. She is fluent in Urdu/Hindi and Sindhi and has working proficiency in Punjabi.

Program Manager Omid for Afghans & Data Specialist

Sihem Tlili

Sihem earned her Computer Science engineering degree from ENSI Tunisia then worked as a software engineer with Alcatel in Tunisia before moving to Canada and joining Motorola also as a software engineer. After moving to the US in 2001 Sihem taught computer classes to K-10th grade students at the Arizona Cultural Academy. She went on to earn her Montessori teaching license then taught and managed two classrooms at the Good Tree Institute of Arizona.

Sihem moved to California in 2014 and began studying Microsoft Server Management. She went on to work as technical support for several companies before joining MAS-SSF as IT Specialist and Administrator of the Covid program in April 2021. She was promoted to Program Manager & Data Specialist for the Omid Program in May 2023. Sihem is a proud wife and mother of four and has served as a Girl Scout leader and Cookie Manager for her two daughters’ troop. She loves reading and listening to audiobooks.

Program Manager Al-Afia

Abid Stanekzai

Abid Stanekzai serves as the Program Manager for the Omid Al-Afia program. He joined MAS-SSF in October 2021, bringing his energy and passion to help refugees overcome challenges and integrate into new communities. Abid earned his Bachelor’s degree in economics from Kabul University and his Master’s in political science from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Academy. He came to the United States in 2016 and worked as a trainer with Volt, then as an Operations Specialist for the Newport Group.

Professional accomplishments have included work with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Bank, and the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan. Abid takes pleasure in spending quality time with his children and when he’s not on the road, you can find him hiking in nature, camping, or swimming.

Program Manager Omid for Afghans

Nawid Gheyasi

Nawid Gheyasi earned his Information Technology degree from Kabul, Afghanistan then spent nine years with the Afghan Wireless Communications Company (AWCC)as a sales supervisor. His work experience also includes serving as the Administrative & Finance Manager for Burhan Security Services (BSS) contracted by the US Embassy in Kabul before coming to the US in 2018.

Nawid joined MAS-SSF in December 2021 and trained to be a Peer Support Specialist then became the Peer Specialist Administrator. As Program Manager for the Omid (Hope) for Afghans program–formed after the US withdrawal in 2021–he works with local and national government and NGO’s to garner support for the Afghan community. This has included coordinating food and housing referrals, leading the First 5 (newborn to five years old) program, and through educational presentations. Married with two children, Nawid spends his leisure time with his family watching movies and playing volleyball.

Peer Support Specialist Coordinator Omid for Afghans

Aeraj Feroz

Aeraj Feroz joined MAS-SSF in December 2023 as the Omid (Hope) for Afghans program Peer Support Specialist Coordinator. In this role, as an intake coordinator for clients interested in counseling, he takes part and supports the team on program planning and reporting, organizing the educational workshops, health fairs, case management, resources and referrals management with special focus on mental health.

He brings more than 20 years of experience working on public health projects to the team including grant management in a donor-dependent healthcare system. Roles and responsibilities covered planning and project management. As a Project Manager at the Johns Hopkins University Kabul office, he managed a results-based financing initiative focused on increasing positive health service outcomes to draw more people to use its primary and secondary health services.

Aeraj earned his MD from the Kabul University of Medical Sciences and his MPH, Master of Public Health, from the University of Indonesia. He arrived in the US in August 2021 from Afghanistan and has lived with his wife and children in Sacramento since late 2021.

Lead Peer Specialist Shifa for Today & Amanah House Manager

Heba Eladli

Heba is the Lead Peer Specialist for Shifa for Today and since August 2023 has also served as the on-site manager for Amanah House. She began volunteering with MAS-SSF in 2018 then joined as staff in October 2020. Through her work as one of the founders of Amanah House, the first domestic violence (DV) shelter for Muslim women in the Sacramento area, Heba helps women rebuild their lives. She finds fulfillment as a peer counselor and feels she is relatable and able to make people comfortable so they will unburden themselves. This allows them to move their lives ahead more confidently. She is fluent in Arabic and English and serves as a translator/interpreter nearly daily. Prior work experiences include roles as a Medical Interpreter, Islamic and Arabic teacher.

Heba attended college in Egypt earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Programming from the Cairo Higher Institute. Over many years, she has earned numerous professional certifications centered around mental health and wellness, DV training, facilitation, and crisis counseling. Heba is the proud mother of a set of twin boys and of twin girls. She has been living in the Sacramento area since 2002.

Program Manager Shifa for Youth

Basit Choudhary

Basit Choudhary

Basit joined MAS-SSF 2020 and is the Program Manager of Shifa for Youth. Born in the Bay Area, he is  Pakistani-American. He strives to support his community by leading the peer counseling services program; advocating for mental wellness and youth empowerment. Basit graduated from CSU Sacramento in 2020 with his Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences.

Basit has served his schools and community since 2012. He began donating blood frequently to help save lives as soon as he was eligible to do so. While in high school, he was an active member with the Muslim Students Association (MSA). Basit later took positions as a Secretary, Treasurer and Vice President with MSA clubs during his college and university life. Since 2016, he has served as a youth leader at his Islamic center, MCYC, as a Youth Coordinator, Janitor and Administrative Assistant. He has also led Friday sermons, planned events, emceed, facilitated classes, designed flyers, and managed youth social media platforms.

Lead Peer Specialist Shifa for Today

Mirwais Saqeb

Mirwais has been with MAS-SSF since 2021. As a Lead Peer Specialist and referral resource for the Shifa for Today counseling program, he leads the community evaluation committee and is a member of the MAS-SSF education committee. Mirwais works closely with community members, connecting them with organizations that can assist with housing, food, job training, and other services to give them hope for their future. He has more than fifteen years of experience, mostly in counseling, advocacy, and coaching at for-profit and nonprofit organizations. He served the U.S. Embassy INL-PAE-Justice Sector Program and Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) for nine years.

Previous work experience includes roles as a Deputy Lead, Legal Adviser, Case Manager, Counselor, and Training Coordinator in the Justice Sector Program, Role of Law and the Court System over six years. Mirwais loves reading historical and documentary books and playing volleyball for fun.

Peer Specialist Omid for Afghans

Aman Ullah Shinwari

Aman joined MAS-SSF in November 2023 as a Peer Support Specialist for the Shifa for Today program. He is working in collaboration with our national partners to guide new immigrants through housing, food and children’s healthcare systems. He is also helping families assimilate to living, working, and navigating the educational system at all levels through in-person workshops.

Past professional work experience includes more than five years in roles responsible for data collection, asset evaluation including fiscal data, fact finding, and making recommendations for further analysis and verification in the Administrative Office of the President.

Educated in London, he attended the University of Sunderland earning his Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in 2013. Aman came to the US from Afghanistan in July 2022 and lives in Sacramento.

Intake Coordinator Shifa for Youth

Hamed Bahrami

Hamed began volunteering with MAS-SSF in June 2022 and joined in October 2023. He works closely with community members dealing with mental health issues by conducting interviews to collect data and information to identify all the ways MAS-SSF can assist. He provides interpretation and translation services in Dari, Farsi and Pashto, manages the database, and participates in events. Since 2021 he has volunteered for the International Rescue Committee assisting with translations, applications and database management. Born in Kabul, he came to Sacramento in July 2018 with his wife and children.

Hamed’s professional experience includes seven years with Pacific Architects and Engineers in Kabul as a Case Management System Deputy Section Lead, Case Management Advisor, and Civil Case Management Team Leader. He also served as an attorney for DA Qanoon Ghushtonky for three years in Kandahar.

Hamed earned his Bachelor of Law degree from Herat University then went on to a one-year Judicial Internship for the Supreme Court of Afghanistan. He is pursuing a master’s degree in criminal law and criminology.

Peer Support Specialist Al-Afia & Shifa for Youth

Kamila Amiri

Kamila started volunteering with MAS-SSF in 2021 working at community events. She joined as staff in October 2023 to serve the Al-Afia senior program by providing data entry, intake for new clients and handling other administrative tasks. She can read, write and speak Pashto, Dari, Farsi and Urdu.

She uses her data entry/data management skills as a volunteer for the River City Food Bank. The Global Emergency Response and Assistance organization also benefits from her data management, intake and event coordination experience. Kamila’s US work experience includes two years with Synbyo as an Office Assistant and two years with Dealertrack Technologies as a Document Agent.

Prior to coming to the US in 2017, Kamila studied agriculture and economics for two years at Kabul University then went on to earn her Bachelor of Law degree from Karden University in Kabul, Afghanistan. She spent eight years working in an administrative/office assistant role for US contractor AIRP supporting engineers working on infrastructure and energy solutions. Her experience also includes three years as an Information Officer for Instability Monitoring & Analysis Platform (iMAP) in Afghanistan before moving to the US in 2017.

Peer Specialist Omid for Afghans

Najia Nabi

Najia joined MAS-SSF in November 2023 as the Omid for Afghans Program Coordinator. Before moving to the US in 2021, Najia spent more than three years as the General Coordinator of Youth and Employment for the Office of the Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Kabul. As the Women’s Affairs Expert, she assisted disadvantaged women with pursuing education, gaining independence, securing remote employment, and increasing their skills at using technology. Other roles have included work as a Communications Specialist for the Afghanistan National Horticulture and Livestock project and as an Executive Assistant to the Deputy Minister for the Rural Rehabilitation and Development organization. Human rights and women’s rights have been the center of all Najia’s roles.

She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Heritage from the International Islamic University of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur in 2015. Since early 2023, she has been working toward a certification in Non-Profit Management through Drexel University’s College of Professional Studies.

Najia is a world-traveler—favorite destinations include Greece, Malaysia and the Maldives—and enthusiastic foodie.

Peer Specialist Omid for Afghans

Asila Sadiqi

Asila joined MAS-SSF in July 2023 as part of the growing Omid for Afghans team. Her professional experience includes serving as the Coordination Director & Sr. Program Development for the Ministry of Mines & Petroleum for three years in Kabul, Afghanistan. Prior to that she spent four years as the Senior Communication & Outreach Advisor and Liaison Advisor with DAI SHAHAR/USAID/IDLG-Deputy Ministry of Municipalities, also in Kabul. Other roles include Program Director in Bamiyan, the culture capital of SAARC, Training Manager at the Help INGO in Civil Service Commission-Training Center in Herat for eight years and work as a researcher for the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit and Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission on Family violence and Family dynamic project for two years.

In addition to earning her master’s degree from economics in India, Alisa has continued her education through several different programs including Leadership Development from MorningStar and being awarded a scholarship from Thunderbird University in Arizona to receive her Certificate of Advanced Training in Business & Management. While still in Afghanistan, she was the winner of the 2012 Top Ten Afghanistan Businesswomen in South Asia Entrepreneur Symposium and winner of the Best Government Employee in Herat and best facilitator and communicator, among many other awards.

Meet Our Executive Committee


Omar Ahmed

Omar Ahmed is honored to have volunteered with MAS-SSF in various capacities since its inception in 2007. Born and raised in the United States and in the Sacramento area for over 20 years, he works as a pediatrician with Sutter Medical Group in Elk Grove. Given both his personal and professional experiences, he has particular interest in working with our Muslim youth struggling to maintain their Islamic identities.

Vice Chair

Mohammed Abdul Khader

Mohammed Abdul Khader is an active volunteer for MAS-SSF and supports their efforts to keep families together. From 2022-2024, he served as Treasurer. He has also served as President and on the Executive Committee over several years for the Folsom Mosque. For the past 25 years, he has been actively volunteering with several social and religious organizations in the greater Sacramento area.

Abdul works as a Senior Design Manager at Intel Corporation. He lives in Folsom, is married and the father of three.


Tamer Ahmed

Tamer Ahmed moved to the Sacramento area in 1999. He has been active in the Muslim community on several fronts. He helped establish CAIR-SV in the early 2000’s. He was one of the founding members of MAS in 2005 and the formation of MAS-SSF in 2007. He is currently serving on the Greater Sacramento Muslim Cemetery Board of Trustees and was the Project Manager responsible for delivering the 2024 Sacramento Unity Eid.

He is a registered Professional Engineer and a Certified Project Management Professional serving as Deputy Director of Facilities Services of the Judicial Council of California. Tamer is married and is a parent of two.


Ghouse Adoni

Ghouse Adoni Mohammed joined the MAS-SSF Executive Committee as our volunteer Treasurer in 2024. For more than 10 years, he has been actively involved in volunteering and served as the Treasurer of Folsom Mosque for a few years. He is an Engineering Manager at multinational company.

Ghouse is a married father of two and lives in Folsom.

Community Education Committee Chair

Asma Sajid

Dr. Asma Sajid is a distinguished dentist with her own practice in Sacramento. She is a Fellow of the American General Dentistry and the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, showcasing her extensive training and commitment to comprehensive dental care. Committed to community service, she regularly volunteers her time for community projects.

In her leisure time, Dr. Sajid enjoys reading and engaging in different sports activities with her family. Her significant contributions to her field and community earned her the "Top 40 Under 40" award from the Sacramento Business Journal in 2023.

Mental Health Committee Chair

Nazia Khan

Ms. Khan is a Marriage Family Therapist and Professional Clinical Counselor who has received a Master of Science in Education and Mental Health Counseling from Sacramento State. In addition to serving on the Executive Committee, she is active with Human Resources and the Amala Youth Hopeline. She has been supporting MAS-SSF with counseling, domestic violence support for sisters, workshops and training at Islamic schools, masjids, and other places in the community.

Nazia has worked in various mental health settings including schools, non-profit organizations, and mental health startups. A major focus in her work has been with children, adolescents, young adults, CPS/Foster/adopted youth, families, runaway/homeless youth, those who are overcoming trauma, those who experience anxiety, depression, emotional dysregulation, behavioral outbursts, loss and grief, suicidal/homicidal, attentional difficulties, as well as those encountering difficult life stressors and transitions. She has provided community training on bullying, positive parenting, suicide prevention, and support to the community due to hate crimes. Ms. Khan knows that no single approach is the right one for every individual, so she has been trained in a range of modalities.

Our Achievements

With the awarded grant and the support and contributions of our community members, we were able to achieve a lot alhamdulillah!
What They’re Saying

MAS-SSF staff are unsung heroes, they work tirelessly to tackle some of the most difficult issues facing our community. MAS-SSF provides vital services that have helped so many families from falling apart.