After 13 years working as a telecommunication tech, Umar A. Hakim resigned to pursue new interests.

Recruited by Imam Saadiq Saafir, he started volunteer work with South Los Angeles-based Intellect-Love-Mercy Foundation (ILM) www.ilmercy.com in 2004. He has spent the past four years as ILM’s executive director of the organization.

ILM’s mission is “to teach life skills to economically underprivileged youth and adults so that social ills are replaced with opportunities for intellectual and economic empowerment.”

“Teaching life skills to replace social ills,” Hakim quipped.

“Humanitarian Day” is one of ILM’s signature events. Hakim describes it as “a day of having insurance for those without.” Dental and medical care, including eye exams, diabetes screenings, HIV testing and flu shots, meals, clothes and hygiene kits are offered to homeless people and others in need. School supplies and backpacks are provided for kids.

The event will celebrate its 20th campaign next year during Ramadan.

“What blew me away is the outreach to the people,” Hakim says.

Personal: Hakim and his wife live in Compton. They have three kids.

Quotable: “(My faith) is my comfort zone. It’s my filter. It fuels my compassion because as a Muslim you know that there is a reward for the work that you do to please your Creator. So, other than monetary compensations, the accolades and the articles and the trips, you’re ultimately working for the Creator’s mercy and his forgiveness. Without that, it’s a wrap. You don’t have nothing left.”

Last book read: “Robot-Proof (Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence)” by Joseph E. Aoun