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Sport management students host event to support business professor’s nonprofit for education in India

Abhaneriv Classroom
School

Caldwell, N.J., May 14, 2019 – Students in Business Professor Neil Malvone’s Sports Event Management class and in the Sport Management Club hosted a nightfall volleyball event to support Pawel’s Children which improves education in India. The non-profit organization was founded by Business Professor Monika Sywak in honor of her son.  

Malvone said the students were thrilled to create the event to help Pawel’s Children.  

Each semester, the event management students create an event from ideation to implementation as a way to learn the course material in an experiential fashion. They handle all aspects of the event including finding participants, sponsors, and bringing in spectators, as well as the event logistics,” said Malvone.  

Sywak is grateful to Malvone and the students for their support. The founding of the Pawel’s Children goes back to 2014 when Sywak says the organization “found her” and it was love at first sight. They support the Abhaneri School in an impoverished area of India that Sywak “stumbled on” during a sightseeing trip with her friends Shalini Madaras and Denise Walsh.     

They were distributing soccer balls in a rural area of Rajasthan when they stopped at the Abhaneri School. They saw that 300 children were learning in a structure with dirt floors, no running water, no bathrooms or electricity, and unstable walls. After leaving the kids that day, Sywak says, she could not stop thinking about them, “how special they were and how much they really wanted to learn.” Even with a language barrier and her friend’s translation, Sywak could feel how “sincere, humble and genuine” the people were and could see they “had a real  love for education.”

“They just needed a little help to take it further,” says Sywak, who teaches undergraduate and graduate finance and ethical business strategy courses. She and her friends decided to start with a small project, financing the construction of bathrooms. They suggested making the donations in memory of Sywak’s son, Pawel, who had died in 2012 at 20 years old. As they started spreading the word,  they could see there was support for the project. Soon after, they applied for the nonprofit status and Pawel’s Children was born.