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Bem-vindo! Salah Shriners (Translation: Welcome!)

large group of shriners and ladies celebrating

A group of Salah Shriners and ladies participate in fun and fellowship.

Newly Chartered Temple Brings the Energy to Fundraisers and Fraternity

“It’s like I had a good dream and woke up and tried to remember everything that happened.”

That’s how Mario Correa, Oriental Guide for the Salah Shriners, describes his chapter’s experience at this year’s Imperial Session in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The chapter certainly had something to celebrate: Salah Shriners, based in Florianópolis, in the state of Santa Catarina in Brazil, received their charter on July 3. The journey it took to get there was both exciting and a lot of work.

You know how the saying goes: work hard, play hard. Members of Salah have a reputation for knowing how to have a good time through bonding with their brothers. At Imperial Session, nobles enjoyed meeting Shriners from the United States. They also enjoyed exploring the host city and even unexpectedly attending the concert of a favorite artist: “We were very lucky Alicia Keys was playing in town,” Mario said.

three shriners celebrating their new charter

Salah Shriners celebrate at the 2023 Imperial Session in Charlotte, North Carolina, last July.

Life of the Party

Instead of hosting formal dinners with a dress code, Salah Shriners like to think outside the box to raise awareness while having fun. In return, that engagement helps them raise the funds necessary to support projects close to their hearts.

“The party part is real — I think we’re really good at it, and we can really make a difference,” Mario said.

Salah Shriners are very proud of a project that improved access to pediatric burn care. They raised money for construction in order to reopen the Burned Children Treatment Unit at the Joana de Gusmão Children's Hospital in Florianópolis.

The unit had been closed for five years due to structural problems. The building’s needs were immense. A homebuilder by trade, Mario described the condition of the unit as “post-apocalyptic,” adding that “you didn’t have to be a doctor” to understand how much work had to be done before patients could safely be cared for there.

To help fund the project, Salah carried out two wine campaigns in partnership with a winery in the mountains region of Santa Catarina. In addition, the chapter held their first Salah Shriners Music Festival, featuring two bands, dinner, drinks and dancing at the Costão do Santinho Resort, which sponsored the event and donated its revenue to the effort.

Opening the new unit for children with burn injuries in November 2022 represented, so far, the biggest achievement by Salah Shriners in Santa Catarina. The facility gives all children with medium and high complexity burns in the state access to skilled burn care.

“I have had lots of success professionally, but nothing compared to this achievement. It’s like seeing my kid being born. I don’t know how to describe it,” Mario said. “We are building this community.”

In that spirit, members look for problems that need solving, and the opportunities present themselves.

Setting their sights on helping children receive care for cleft lip and palate more quickly and closer to home, Salah worked to donate a speech therapy booth to Santa Catarina's main cleft lip and palate clinic and facilitate collaboration between the clinic and the local university.

It is all possible because the nobles unite their drive to help others with their desire to have fun. For one big event, Mario joked, “There was beer involved.” They participated in the local Oktoberfest in 2022, leading the parade, and looked forward to this year’s celebration. The Shriners enjoyed the first one so much he jokingly told members, “Not everyone can have tents this year.”

In addition, Salah was a beneficiary of Peixada do Gui 2023, a traditional Carnival event in Florianópolis, which drew 10,000 people.

large group of shriners during oktoberfest celebration

A group of Salah Shriners smile while having a great time during their participation in a community event.

Membership Climbing

The Salah Shriners also know how to recruit and retain members while including all generations. Like many temples and clubs around the world, they use the popular What’s App, as well as Instagram, to communicate with their membership and share information about events and happenings in the community.

Mario, who is in his late 40s, says the average Salah Shriner is around his age but that there is a good mix. He said the generations enjoy mixing and finding ways to connect and have fun.

The chapter reached the necessary 300 members to earn their charter earlier this year, and they continue to grow. They expect that by the end of 2023, they will surpass the mark of 400 nobles.

Key Ingredients

Salah means “kindness, and it’s the quality of those who have a noble and generous soul and are naturally inclined to do good,” Mario said. “Salah Shriners aim to be the link for the reunion of brothers who have the common goal of doing good for the children who we serve and contribute to the consolidation of an increasingly fair and fraternal society.”

“At the foundation, being a Shriner is about fun, family and charity. These three concepts work together. You cannot have one without the others. We can party, but if you don’t have the charity, what’s the sense?” Mario said.

Read more about Salah Shriners.