As February, the month of love approached, Wesleyan School Athletic Director, Marc Khedouri was working on an enormous act of love. Khedouri and friends donated $60,000 to all the Wesleyan high school students and faculty with only one instruction on what to do with the money:
Do something beautiful for God.
Khedouri started his devotion by sharing different stories from his life, when he was able to give a man his car, and another story about him helping a man fill his prescriptions, and when the man asked why he did it, Khedouri responded with “because I can.”
At the end of his devotion, Khedouri said he wanted everyone to be able to have the opportunity to do something special “because they can.” Through giving the students the money, $100 each, he also wanted to teach them a lesson about sacrificial giving and stewardship. “It is also my hope that it will be a tangible reminder of God’s grace. The spiritual applications are plentiful.” Khedouri said an email out to the parents and outer Wesleyan community.
“I am hoping that students will get an abject lesson in giving that will change them and someone else, and I hope that that is not the last time they decide to give,” Khedouri said.
The ‘Do Something Beautiful for God’ project was originally introduced to Wesleyan back in 2007 when Khedouri gave each student and faculty member each $100 to ‘Do Something Beautiful for God.’ Ten years later, this project was brought back to Wesleyan. “I decided to do this project again when Mr. [Greg] Lisson told me the Christian Life theme for the year. It seemed perfect and I wanted it to be around Valentine’s Day too,” Khedouri said.
The program still had the same impact on the students and faculty at Wesleyan even after ten years. Alumni, Matt Karempelis, remembers being in “Complete shock,” it simply didn’t seem real. My immature self at the time initially thought about the money. All I could think about was how much money that was.” And current students that experienced this chapel described it as, “shocking,” “powerful” and “moving.”
“This project impacted and will impact people in so many ways. It showed that Wesleyan wanted to be different. Wesleyan wanted to do something that no other school had ever done before. It is a blessing that the school has leaders like Mr. Khedouri that spearhead such incredibly impactful initiatives. It also started a widespread conversation amongst the school on how to be selfless, how to do something beautiful for God and how to use the gifts given to help those that need it more than we did. It made us stop thinking about ourselves so much, and actually think about those that are really struggling, don’t have food on the table like we do, are cold at night, are sick, have addictions, need the Lord but have given up, you name it” Karempelis said.
Only a few teachers have been in attendance for both of the introductions of the ‘Do Something Beautiful for God Project,’ and Jo-Ann McCauley is one of the few teachers who have experienced both of these incredible projects throughout her 21 years at Wesleyan. “I don’t think they were different spiritually, the essence and the spirit and heart was there both times. Even the stories seemed relatively similar. However, I think the way that the money is raised was the only thing that was really different.”
Khedouri gave the students and faculty their money with really no instruction on how to spend it, so what the money is used for is really up to the students and faculty.
Back in 2007, McCauley and friends took their money and pooled it together, and donated it to a women’s prison ministry. “Sometimes, women in prison who’s families cut them off and never give them money or come visit them. When most of the prisoners get money they go to the prison commissary for basic goods. We also purchased new testaments, and then we talked to them and do bible study with them” McCauley said.
Also in 2007, Alumni Matt Karempelis used his money in several different ways. “I always carried it with me in case I found myself in a situation where I could help others out. Ultimately, it had a tremendous impact on my empathy for others and I believe I ended up going into my own pockets to help those in need when I ran out of the $100. I helped several homeless individuals get food, did random acts of kindness, etc. It continues to impact me today.”
Wesleyan students and faculty today are using their money in many different ways. Some students are grouping their money together and donating it to charities all throughout the Atlanta area and all over the world.
The ‘Do Something Beautiful for God’ project is something very special that Wesleyan does, and it is something that makes Wesleyan different from other Christian schools. And this project will help many different people. The project has done great things in the past, and there are many more great things to come from this project.