Elika Rezvani

Last updated: 2007

Elika Rezvani

2007 Beat the Odds Honoree

Elika Rezvani is a true representation of the human spirit. Born in Iran, Elika was a year old when her two brothers, mother, and father moved to Israel. Her father then developed a serious mental illness and entered a psychiatric institution. Money was scarce and home life difficult. Elika's two older brothers would often demand money from their mother and became abusive when she did not have any. Elika would literally get caught in the middle trying to shield her mother from more trouble. At the age of eight years old, her mother was diagnosed with colon cancer and Elika became her mother's sole caregiver. Elika did everything for her mother, from changing her colostomy bags to getting her medications. Out of anger, her brothers would slash their mother's colostomy bags knowing their mother had no money to buy new ones. At the age of 10, her mother passed away and Elika felt truly alone. Elika moved to Los Angeles to live with her grandfather in a one-bedroom apartment with very little income. Today, Elika must work for all of her basic necessities. Fortunately, Jewish Big Brothers and Sisters paired her up with her Big Sister Teresa. Teresa has been by Elika's side for the last two years helping her get through some very difficult moments in her young life. Teresa states of Elika, "She has been able to turn her pain into depth of character, her sadness into caring and empathy for others, and her losses into gratitude and appreciation for the blessings she does have." Elika shows this spirit through her community service each week including working with the elderly to packing and delivering food to people in need. Elika says, "I have been given challenges in my life and I have been able to squeeze some blessings out of them. I have persevered and I know now that I will never give up." With great pleasure, the Children's Defense Fund recognizes Elika Rezvani as a 2007 Beat the Oddsâ recipient.