Born in the state of Kansas and raised in sunny Orange County, Heesham Naji is a Syrian American Muslim who studied Political Science at the University of California, San Diego.

Shortly after his undergraduate career, Naji launched a humanitarian aid project called, “Words to the Wise” in an effort to alleviate hunger and homelessness in Southern California and to showcase the true image of Islam through its projects.

Words to the Wise began in September of last year (2015) with a group of dedicated volunteers. Today, only 10 months later, the nonprofit organization has grown in its size and service. With the partnership of the Muslim Student Associations of UCLA, CSULB and the Ansar Service Partnership of USC, Words to the Wise has fed more than 4,500 people in need across Southern California. They aspire to collaborate with more MSAs and organizations to serve 7,000 additional people in need by the end of the year.

“The name ‘Words to the Wise’ was inspired by the idea that words have a powerful impact on changing human thought and helping bring positive social changes in our communities. While we still believe in the power of this motto, we hope it is our organization’s acts of service that will speak louder than words,” says Heesham Naji.

Words to the Wise plans to expand their efforts to alleviate homelessness in SoCal and to improve upon education reform by hosting discussions at various college campuses. Through these dialogues, the organization hopes to educate students and collaborate with them on what can be done to better the current situation of those in need. In the long run, Words to the Wise aspires to establish relations with their local and state officials to assist in creating policies to improve the epidemic of homelessness and to enhance education in our local communities.

“I am extremely grateful for all the partner organizations, friends and volunteers who see potential in this project and provide unwavering support to our cause and efforts, whether it is through their time, raising funds or spreading the word about our work," says Naji. "With the grace of God, we have been able to serve many communities in a short span of time due to all the support we have received.”

To learn more and to get involved with Words to the Wise, visit their website here.

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