NNAAC Fellow Helwa Saleh: I want to create equality among people

NNAAC’s Transformative Leaders Fellowship Program develops crucial leadership skills in select university students and recent graduates across the country through an ongoing partnership with our various member organizations. These aspiring young adults learn more about the issues facing Arab American communities, see how nonprofits are managed and work toward creating a personal professional growth plan.

Get to know Helwa Saleh, one of our 2016-17 fellows, in our interview with her below.


Helwa Saleh

Arab American Family Services | Bridgeview, Ill. 
Benedictine University, Biological Sciences


Q: Why did you join the Transformative Leaders Fellowship program? 

A: I was excited when I was approached to join. It was an opportunity to build on my leadership skills and to be part of a national Arab American program that gives youth the opportunity to grow their leadership skills and expand their opportunities.

Q: What personal or professional goals do you want to achieve during this program?

A: Through this opportunity, my goals are to achieve a better understanding of what my own community is in need of. Ever since I was a young child, I was all about helping others. I made it a personal goal for myself to help as many people for as long as I could.

Q: How does this program fit into your future plans? 

A: My future goal is to be an optometrist. As a young Arab American woman, I am excited to say that with this program, I will broaden my experience with diverse communities and hope to open up a clinic to fit the needs of families and children who are less fortunate.

Q: Describe yourself in three words. 

A: Sharp, Dynamic, and Passionate


The National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC) Transformative Leaders Fellowship Program (formerly the Youth Fellowship Program) increases the capacity of our member organizations to provide additional support to their communities, while at the same time develops crucial leadership skills in the fellows themselves. The program engages college students and/or recent graduates over a nine-month placement with a NNAAC member organization. Fellows are recruited by NNAAC members locally, and in partnership with universities. Learn more.

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