Topeka man internationally recognized for community work

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A Topeka man is being internationally recognized for his work in the Topeka community.

Every Monday afternoon, S.J. Hazim heads to the Boys and Girls Club Adams location, rapping books to them for their program, Kids Lit.

“S.J. has come in and enhanced it with his music,” Tiffany Macon said, the literacy director at Boy and Girls Club. “It’s a time for kids to listen to their favorite songs and hear their favorite books turned into music.”

It’s not uncommon to see S.J. engaging with people in Topeka. He’s rapped to other kids around the city, partnered with local officials and put together festivals to bring people together.

“He’s outgoing, and he’s super kind,” Tiffany said. “He will literally give you his last if he needed to.”

It took a while for S.J. to be engaged in his community. Growing up in Central Topeka, he didn’t always see the city for what it is, more of what it wasn’t.

“I was one of those people, at one time, who complained about what we don’t have,” S.J. said. “What we’re not doing. You know, how I’d like to see this happen or whatever. A lot of times it just becomes lip service if there is no action behind it. So, I think the magic is in the action. I was motivated by being irritated.”

In 2018, he founded the nonprofit Project Forward. It encourages volunteering and mentorship and pushes community pride. Exactly what he thought was missing. Now, his work is getting world-wide recognition.

“It hit me pretty heavy,” S.J. said. “I never in my wildest dreams thought I could get internationally recognized for doing local work.”

S.J. was nominated for this year’s IChange Nations Community Ambassador awards. IChange Nations is an organization that recognizes people throughout the world, who have shown humanitarian efforts and change.

Every Monday, S.J. Hazim heads to the Boys and Girls Club rapping books to the next generation of kids, who can be proud of Topeka, with his help.

S.J. will receive his award on Sunday in Kansas City.

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