Mona Khalef, a senior finance major, is the winner of this year’s Be the Change contest sponsored by the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. Georgia State students were invited to submit proposals in the form of a New Year’s resolution describing how they would use the $1,000 grant awarded to make the world a better place. Khalef’s proposal was one of 133 entries received.
Khalef plans to apply the grant towards a tutoring center for refugees and their children in Clarkston, Georgi, which she and a group of friends from GSU opened last year. It currently serves 30 children ages four to seventeen and eight parents. Most of the families Khalef and the GSU students tutor are Syrian refugees, many of whom have relocated several times before settling in Georgia.
Khalef will use the award to provide book bags, pencils, and paper for the students, along with new desks and supplies for the center.
“With $1000, these refugees can have no shortage of learning,” she said. “I want to be the door of opportunity into building a better life than the one they were forced to leave. This project could be the phoenix from its ashes for them.
Long-term, Khalef hopes to expand the program to reach as many refugees as possible. She plans to reach out to nonprofit organizations and form partnerships that will ensure the center is here to stay.
The Be the Change contest is a program of the new B.I.S. in Social Entrepreneurship degree offered at Georgia State. Chris Markl, instructor of social entrepreneurship at the Andrew Young School, hopes the award will continue to inspire students to take a leap with their big ideas.
“GSU’s social entrepreneurship degree program empowers students to create the change they’d like to see in the world. In reviewing entries for this contest, I learned about many inspiring GSU students who are already working to make Atlanta a better place to live, study and work. I hope in future years that we can expand this contest and perhaps fund more students,” he said.
For more information, visit the B.I.S. in Social Entrepreneurship website.