Vitendo4africa celebrations its 5th Annual Dinner on October 20th at JFK Community Center.This year event was spectacular with great African fashion show by YKG crafts, African dance by F4KIDZ African Performing Arts, food and music. YKG is owned by immigrant entrepreneur from Zimbabwe, Ms Gamu Gandawa.
During this time every year, V4A recognizes individuals and organizations who have, through positive actions, stood out to impact the lives of immigrants and refugees families in St. Louis. This year these individuals and organizations received awards in the following categories.
1. Most influential in impacting change- Mshauri Award -Wesley McCutchan
Wes McCuthcan is a STL raised Christ follower who lives for loving him and loving others. He connects with people through the medium of visual storytelling. His greatest outlet of doing this is narrative filmmaking, but he will do it anyway he can. Wes’ strength is using video as a tool to engage the audience and stir up emotions that invoke change in the viewer. Wes captured the story of Vitendo4Africa so we can share it with the world. Thank you for all of the time you spent hearing our story, getting to know us and creating an amazing video about who we are .
2. Community service Award- Moran Award:Sally Karanja,Victor Powon, Elizabeth Kamau, Anne Sankale, Abigail Sankale, Gedion Njuguna
This group of teens from St. Louis completed a two-week service project in Kenya as part of the leadership program with V4A youth. These high school students helped build two new classrooms at a school in Rift Valley, Kenya, renovated a small hospital in the southwestern region of the country. Additionally, they collected and donated many supplies. At the hospital, they teamed up with a group of students from Netherlands. They came as separate groups to serve those in need but in the end, they became a family with the people they were serving. The Kenya mission team has been featured on St. Louis Public Radio, NPR, Channel 5, Weekly News and other local and international media
3. Community advocate- Wakili Award
Give Kids A Smile provides access to oral health care to underserved children, with events taking place throughout the year. Thousands of dentists and volunteers give their time to provide free oral health education, screenings, and treatment to underserved children. For the last 3 years Give Kids A Smile has partnered with V4A to provide free dental care and oral hygiene to over 100 immigrant and refugee kids in St. Louis
Give Kids A SmileGive Kids A Smile (GKAS) got its start in St. Louis, MO, in 2000 with the help of a few community-oriented dental professionals in response to the need to provide children of families who cannot afford dental care with access to quality care. Through the dedication of dentists and volunteers, and the support of schools, organizations, corporations and individuals, GKAS has provided comprehensive dental care to undeserved children since the first clinic in February 2002.
Clinics are conducted twice each year at the Center for Advanced Dental Education at Saint Louis University. Comprehensive dental care, home hygiene supplies, educational materials, lunch and fun are provided free of charge in a kid-friendly environment.
4. Leadership Award- Kiongozi Award – Gracemary Nganga
We are proud of her work within the African community. Grace volunteers at Vitendo 4 Africa, a non-in the youth mentorship programs and special events . She helps organize and execute various events and workshops meant to ease the integration of African immigrants into the American system such as tutoring, health fairs, sporting events, and cultural showcases. Additionally, she was the director of 2018 Kenya mission where she and a group of high school students helped build two classrooms and support for underfunded orphanages.
At school, Gracemary participates in numerous extracurricular activities as well as maintaining a stellar academic record and enrolling in advanced classes. She is president of the Women of West club, where she leads discussions and action-based events focused on the empowerment of women, and is a founding member of Students Demand Change, working with her school’s administration to bring change around social justice issues and racial tensions that affect her community. She is the Huddle Leader for her school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and as an athlete, her Varsity Volleyball and Varsity Lacrosse teams have won several titles. Grace was awarded as 2018 STL queen of the year by Queen’s ministry USA.
5. Youth Empowerment Award- Mzushi Award – Vincent Fucetola
Vincent is a member of the US Soccer Development Academy and plays on the Saint Louis FC Academy U17 soccer team. Vincent established Friends for Futbol StL to raise money for soccer equipment for immigrant children in St. Louis. Through a common love of soccer, Vincent donated Soccer equipment and money worth over $3000 to help immigrants feel welcome in St. Louis. He also collected cleats and soccer uniforms that were donated in Kenya this August by the Kenya Mission Team. Vincent’s great love for soccer and his big heart is now changing many lives both local and international. Vincent is a junior at St. Louis University High School where he is a member of the Ignatian Business Leaders Club and he participates in Campus Ministry
6. Humanitarian Award –Shujaa Award – Joyce Kariuki
Joyce has been a great friend, mentor, and great resource to the immigrant community in St Louis. She has received numerous awards while working wth Lutheran Family and Children’s Services (LFCS) and with the city of St. Louis. She is actively involved in the V4A mentorship program as well as with special events. This year she opened her house to one young lady who lost her parent through illness.