Ali Elyaman (AB ’20) who is now the Clarke County Mentor Program’s first full-time program coordinator, is one of those beneficiaries. He pieced together a collection of scholarships and other financial aid to assist him with the costs of attending UGA, but he still fell short of the amount he needed. That’s when he learned about the Crawford Scholarship.
“I wasn’t going to be able to go to UGA without this scholarship,” he says. “I don’t think it clicked in my head at the time, but if I had not gotten it, I wasn’t going to be able to come up with the money I needed to enroll.”
Elyaman forged a deep friendship with John and Cathie, regularly speaking to them on the phone or joining them for a cup of coffee or meal. Building meaningful relationships is an important reason why the Crawfords give back, and their ties with Elyaman is just one example of many forged throughout the years.
“They’re just remarkable young people,” Cathie says. “If anybody needs anything or wants to call us, we make sure they have our contact information.”
The couple typically hosts gatherings with the Crawford Scholars throughout the academic year, offering the opportunity to get to know the students better. It’s a practice that has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, although Zoom calls helped fill the void.
While the Crawfords appreciate the technology that enables them to stay in touch with scholarship recipients, they look forward to returning to Athens this fall to visit with the students in person.
“What’s so great about the program is that we get to know we’re helping someone who needs help,” John says. “But we also are getting to know that person, and that’s the real fulfilling part of it—to get to know a student and their circumstances, what their background is, and have a relationship with them.”
Bulldogs believe in the promise of tomorrow. Your gift—of any amount—can provide much-needed scholarship support to a student struggling to afford an education at the birthplace of higher education in America.