Haaris Ahmed makes a difference in lives of others

Stratford senior recognized as ‘Volunteer of Year’ for Mentor’s Project of Bibb County

Haaris+Ahmed+loads+food+in+his+car+to+distribute+to+families+in+need

Haaris Ahmed loads food in his car to distribute to families in need

Halfway through his freshman year, senior Haaris Ahmed got involved with the Mentor’s Project of Bibb County.

This year, after four years of being involved, he was recognized as The Mentor’s Project Volunteer of the Year.
He was surprised.

“I wasn’t really doing it to get recognized. I wanted to help people that needed it. Of course, I was happy,” Haaris said.

I just really enjoy helping people, the joy it gives me to either share my knowledge or my resources with others that don’t have that.”

— Haaris Ahmed

He is also glad others are finding out about the organization, and he hopes they can join, especially other students.

The Mentor’s Project of Bibb County is a program that provides at-risk students from 14 public middle and high schools in the area with support through mentoring, donations, social activities, and more so they feel motivated to graduate high school and enroll in undergraduate school.

This program caught Haaris’ attention, who after an interview, was matched with a sophomore at Northside High School in Warner Robins who needed help with math and other subjects in school.

For the next two years, once a week, he would go over and tutor him for about an hour and a half. On some weekends, he would also mentor him and go around town to visit places, eat at restaurants, or watch movies.

In March, due to COVID-19, they weren’t able to meet. Mrs. June O’Neal, executive director of the Mentor’s Project, allowed him to deliver food to people. Driven by his passion for helping others and bringing joy to their lives, Haaris decided to distribute meals throughout Macon for the next five months by himself.

Usually, he would go to Ms.O’Neal’s house around 10 or 11 a.m, pick up around 12 boxes of vegetables, canned food, and other non-perishable foods from her home depending on the day, and then he would deliver them to six or seven houses. Half of the food came from donations, and the Mentor’s Project bought the other half.

He drove around Macon, mostly in Bibb County, but sometimes even going as far as Forsyth and Warner Robins. He often delivered all the boxes in one ride and would be done around 2 or 3 p.m. Then, before coming back home, Haaris would return to Ms.O’Neal’s house and ask if she needed help with anything else, such as picking up something or delivering checks.

“Haaris is hard working, determined, quiet, and works without complaint until the job is done. He exemplifies a servant leader,” Ms.O’Neal said.

Haaris is hardworking, determined, quiet, and works without complaint until the job is done. He exemplifies a servant leader”

— Ms.June O'Neal

One day during his time volunteering, Haaris experienced a remarkable moment. It was a girl’s 16th birthday, and he got her balloons, flowers, and food. Seeing how happy she was on her birthday is one of the events that sums up his reason and motivation to volunteer.

“I just really enjoy helping people, the joy it gives me to either share my knowledge or my resources with others that don’t have that,” Haaris said.

Sometimes, he encountered difficulties, such as when some people didn’t open the door, or others came up to him to ask for food or leftovers. He had to learn what to do in these situations, such as leaving the box on the porch, coming back later, or explaining that only those in the program could receive the food.

Through this unique opportunity, Haaris was able to do something he loves: helping others, whether it is through academic assistance or service.

“Haaris is always present with a smile on his face, no matter what the task for the day is” Ms.O’Neal said.