PAYING IT FORWARD: Initiate. Innovate. Inspire

“Helping a person will not necessarily change the world, but it will change the world of that person.”

There is nothing more fulfilling than helping someone other than yourself. I was taught at a young age, ” To whom much is given, much is required”. If you are in the space to help someone out, do it! You never know how your gesture (big or small) can leave a lasting impression on someone. Don’t wait to hop on someone else’s train to help, you can be the start of a movement using the 3 I’s : Initiate, Innovate, & Inspire.

Today I am here to highlight two young men who used their Christmas vacation to not only “relax” but to also make a HUGE difference in the lives of others using the 3 I’s. Ugo Obilo and Emeka Oparaoji both had the opportunity to travel back to their homeland Nigeria  in December, and impacted the lives of many children, through their initiatives to collect shoes and hygiene supplies to donate to their communities. Check Out their stories below!



Name: Ugo Obilo

School:  BBA at Temple University

Masters in Accounting & Consulting at Villanova University

Occupation: Advisory Services Consultant for Ernst & Young (EY)

Residence: Philadelphia, PA

Social Media: @ugo.chukwu

Nigeria Smiles Campaign :


Ugo Obilo: “In December 2015, I had the opportunity to leverage my friends, family, and network to collect dental supplies and children’s vitamins for the Nigeria Smiles Campaign. The Nigeria Smiles Campaign is an initiative of the Nigerian Healthcare Foundation (NHF) to collect much needed medical, hygiene, and school supplies to distribute to the individuals during its annual medical mission.

Since I was heading to Nigeria over the Christmas holiday, it was a perfect opportunity to conduct the campaign and gear it towards children in need. In a mere 18-day span, donations of over 345 toothbrushes, 256 vitamins, and over 200 tubes of toothpaste were received.  The donations were handed out to children and families during the chieftaincy celebrations in the Umuchieze Village of Obollo in Isiala Mbano of Imo State.  We were very grateful for the opportunity to give the children unexpected gifts during the Christmas season, since the NHF medical missions are usually executed during the summer months. We plan on continuing to expand the Nigeria Smiles Campaign, to provide any individual, group, or corporation that is interested in being a part of the campaign an opportunity to do so. Additional thanks goes to the caring individuals that donated to the campaign and NHF is extremely thankful for their participation.”

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Name: Emeka Oparaoji

School: Temple University

Occupation: Pharm D. Candidate & Creator of Naijamerican Clothing

Residence: Philadelphia, PA

Social Media: @naijamerican

Naijamerican: Kicks For Kids :


Emeka Oparaoji: “It’s always been instilled in me that as a child of privilege, one should always strive to give back, especially coming from the Amuzi community. And as a long time sneaker connoisseur, I found this idea to be a perfect marriage of my interests in sneakers and giving back. Hence, Naijamerican: Kicks For Kids was born.

This year we were able to raise and donate over 50 pairs of sneakers to orphans and other underprivileged youth. Amuzi kids were invited to come be a part of the giveaway on December 31st, 2015 at St. Jude’s Catholic Church in Amuzi. Excitement was in the air as we set up a lottery system to determine which children would be able to select their pairs first. Most sizes were accommodated, although the female population had a more limited selection, which is definitely something we aim to correct for the next event. We also aim to increase the availability of smaller kids sizes. But ultimately, the event was a major success and I’m glad that we could put this together for our brothers and sisters. The most rewarding aspect from the event came as a young man approached my father at a soccer game after my departure back to the states. He told my father to thank me very much for what I did with the event. To quote the young man “I am wearing those very shoes Emeka donated right now! I haven’t had a new pair of shoes in a looooong time!!” No better feeling than that!”

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I hope these stories inspire you to help out someone who may be in need. Often times we fail to realize how blessed we are, and how minuscule our problems really are compared to the lives of many. You never know how your gesture can make someone’s day or even life! I challenge you after reading this to PAY IT FORWARD using the 3 I’s : Initiate, Innovate, & Inspire!

Thanks for Reading !

Madam Koverage

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