With national recognitions in student journalism, the study of the classics and international community service, Faique embraces many passions. But unlike others in similar situations, he had to create many opportunities for himself. Testing into the state’s top high school, he interacted with a wide range of students from different—and often more privileged—backgrounds. The opportunities that he found there, and that he made for himself, convinced him early in life that he could accomplish something meaningful.
“I met people through different programs all across the country that were doing incredible things and they inspired me,” he recalls. “I’ve always had a lot of energy, and I wanted to use it to help others.”
Faique founded Project ARC as a high school freshman. He and a group of friends exchanged ideas via Facebook and began fundraising for various causes under the Project ARC umbrella. Motivated by their success, they sought ways to involve more people and by his junior year, they had organized students throughout Chicago to collect donations of eyeglasses in partnership with a global non-profit organization. The students collected approximately 600 pairs of eyeglasses, which were sent to destitute areas in rural Pakistan for people who could not afford glasses otherwise.
In his senior year, Faique and his Executive Board increased involvement in Project ARC further by selling hip, braided fiber bracelets as a fundraiser. They attracted a sales force of high school and college students looking for service hours and partnered with a group that builds orphanages around the world. With just a few costs financed out of pocket, all proceeds from the bracelet sales went directly towards building an orphanage for children at risk for HIV in Cameroon, Africa.
Faique took some of the bracelets to his Coca-Cola Scholars weekend and sold all he had to his fellow Scholars, who in turn, wanted to know how they could get more involved. Moved by others’ desire to help, Faique decided to take Project ARC to a national level. He is currently in the process of setting up agreements with non-profit partners such as SmileTrain. With Project ARC student ambassadors at nearly 40 colleges in 16 states ready to sell bracelets, the organization is ready to launch nationally in 2013. The majority of these volunteers are his 2012 Coca-Cola Scholar peers. Under Faique’s leadership and vision, Project ARC has raised $37,600 in monetary and in-kind donations in just four years. But this isn’t enough: he hopes to raise at least $25,000 this year by working on a national level.
His success at fundraising and his passion for working with people have led Faique to change his focus from journalism and law to economics and business.
“There are two sides to me,” he explains. “On the one hand, I appreciate the business side of things, like reducing costs, increasing profits and making processes more efficient. But, the disparities around the world bother me and as cliché as it sounds, I want to make some sort of difference. Perhaps I can’t change the world, but maybe I can change someone’s world. With economics, I can try to develop creative, feasible solutions that work for everyone. Economics isn’t just crucial in running a business; it’s also essential in running a non-profit.”
Faique gets a thrill from seeing an idea become reality, especially when it’s an idea that has the potential to help others. His goal is to remain involved in philanthropy throughout his college and professional career. One day, “I really want to open a hospital under my parents’ name,” he says.
His college experience so far has shown him that not everyone thinks like Coca-Cola Scholars. “Coca-Cola Scholars have a huge difference in their outlook – a much more positive attitude,” he explains. “We dream big, but what separates us is that we take active, meaningful steps to achieve our goals. If I could describe it in one word, I’d say it’s industriousness. We’re passionate and resourceful, and there’s no better combination.”
“I know how amazing the Scholars from my class are,” he added. “I can only imagine the impact of 5,000 Coca-Cola Scholars on the world.”
To learn more or to order a bracelet go to the Project ARC website.