SALAM, one of the most used words among Muslims that translates to peace, for lack of a better word. Such a beautiful phrase that connects all Muslims around the world, and yet it has an added special meaning to the youth of the Orland Park Prayer Center. SALAM: Student Associations Leading the Advancement of Muslims. At OPPC, youth are made a priority and many know that; we take pride in it. However, for every program you know about, there are others you might not. SALAM is one of those programs.

Student Associations Leading the Advancement of Muslims, otherwise known as Project SALAM, is a program that originated at OPPC in 2013 and remains very distinctive when comparing it to the other programs offered. Acknowledging the need for the Muslim community to have well-trained leaders, this program ensures that leaders are built and trained from 13 different high schools, and counting, across the Chicagoland area. Project SALAM is a program that hosts monthly meetings with leaders from 13 high schools that run the Muslim Student Associations (MSAs). The goal of these monthly meetings is to teach leaders how to plan/lead weekly meetings at their high schools and how to attract attendees while keep them engrossed in the MSAs. The leaders are given training, support, and funding from Project SALAM, a program led by Ahmed Mizyed, Aya Hasan, Mohammed Abourahma, Sara Salama, Abdelrahman Ahmed, and Jenna Dahbur. Training these high schoolers not only ensures that we have well-rounded Muslim leaders in this ummah, but it helps spread dawah to a difficult age group, high schoolers, in schools all around the Chicagoland area. Students come to their school’s MSA and are able to be in a safe environment with their fellow classmates to engage in discussions, build bonds, and gain knowledge about the true beauty of Islam from mentors trained by SALAM leaders. It is a chain reaction starting with the Project SALAM organizers building and supporting MSA leaders, following up with those MSA leaders teaching and guiding MSA attendees, and then those attendees using the knowledge they gained to become leaders and advocates themselves within their communities.

The target audience of Project SALAM are high school students involved in creating or reviving MSAs at their schools or looking to better their leadership skills. If anyone is interested in getting the guidance, support, and/or funding that the SALAM team can provide, feel free to contact Ahmed Mizyed at 708-655-5669. I ask that we keep the Project SALAM teams in our most sincere prayers, as they are building and supporting leaders who are making a wonderful impact within our youth. The MSA leaders who start at SALAM are not only doing amazing work in their schools, but they branch out and use the skills given to them to help where they can in their communities.

By Aydah Nofal