Presbyterian churches band together to help Ahmed Mohamed in the aftermath of media firestorm
By Judy Ramos
Director of Communications
Many people in North Texas and around the country followed the story of Ahmed Mohamed, the Irving teenager who was arrested after he took a homemade clock to school to show his teachers. While the story made national headlines, some of our own local Presbyterian Church (USA) members jumped into action to support Ahmed’s future studies and projects.
Kyle Smith of NorthPark Presbyterian Church, Matt Kinard of Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, and Jared Warren of Canyon Creek Presbyterian Church created a campaign to spread the word about helping Ahmed.
A project pulled together this quickly relies on positive relationships with other organizations, and Kyle said a very important relationship was already in place at the right time.
“Faith on Tap had an existing relationship with Alia Salem, the Executive Director for the North Texas Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). She was our speaker in August, and has been heavily involved in this situation. Alia was the link between our campaign and Ahmed’s family,” Kyle said.
When the story broke, Matt Kinard told Kyle he wanted to help, and the two discussed a crowd funding campaign. This type of campaign is often used to fund a project or initiative by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, usually online. Kyle contacted Alia and she put him in touch with Chris Blauvelt, the CEO of LaunchGood. Blauvelt created LaunchGood to support the Muslim community and “revive that spirit of creativity and entrepreneurism that elevated Muslims globally for centuries.”
Kyle said the launch was a group effort and Jared was instrumental in “helping push everything forward” to bring the project to fruition.
The project, which includes a video that tells Ahmed’s story, has raised more than $15,000 toward the $100,000 in a few days. The project incorporates the social media tag, #IstandWithAhmed, that took the country by storm.
Anyone who wants to share their financial blessings to help support Ahmed and other students like him in the future is encouraged to donate on the website. Kyle also said half the funds raised will go directly to DFW area Makerspaces to pay for free membership for underprivileged kids. Makerspaces are community centers with tools that bring equipment, community, and education together so that community members can design and create work and products, especially in the electronics and robotics fields.
The project continues through October 13, but Kyle said they want to keep the momentum going and discuss forming relationships with groups they assist after the fundraising is complete.
“The ultimate goal is to launch an extended community service project as a joint-venture between as many faith groups as we can bring together.”