Community advocate- Wakili Award -St Louis Zoo
The St Louis Zoo has been very supportive to our kids and youth programs. The St Louis Zoo does not only provide our Immigrant families a place to visit and have an experience of the life we miss in Africa, it also provides a place for our youth and kids learn about the conservation of environment and care for our animals. This summer over 25 kids received scholarships to attend Summer Camp where they gained so much experience about animal protection and environmental conservation. They had a memorable night experience at the zoo and made a lot of new friends
At St Louis Zoo, our youth are employed for summer jobs and volunteer for community service. Members of the Immigrant Community were given an opportunity to give their contribution in the task force committee that is developing education programs and activities to be implemented in the upcoming St Louis Zoo North County Campus. This summer St Louis Zoo helped to start a community Garden or Shamba la Kijiji at Christ Covenant Church in Florissant.
Youth Empowerment Award- Wezesha Award – UMSL MU-Extension
The University of Missouri Extension program provided our youth with great experiences through the Youth Empowerment Summit. Through interactive, strengths-based leadership training, and formulation of action-oriented policy recommendations, our youth were more empowered with the skills, knowledge, and confidence they need to make positive changes in their schools, communities, and organizations.
Our Immigrant middle school students are involved in various programs provided by MU extension. Amanda Meek has done a great job to help our teens develop interest in STEM. Through 4-H Girls Tech girls worked on their microbits, enjoyed educational field trips, healthy habits and other programs.
Humanitarian Award –Shujaa Award – Casa De Salud
Casa De Salud has been the shujaa for immigrants and refugee families on the issues of health.
Casa de Salud is the premier healthcare resource for the foreign born community of Metropolitan St. Louis, and part of the infrastructure that welcomes people of all origins to our region. Casa provides access to quality healthcare with integrity, compassion, respect, to create a dynamic and culturally rich community from which everyone benefits. For the last three years Casa has been partnering with V4A to provide health care access to Immigrants and refugees,
V4A Immigrant Entrepreneur Award- My Events Coordinator
It is a successful combination when a business finds its niche, operates with integrity and reciprocity within the community, and is run by an individual who demonstrates passion, perseverance, and a great sense of humor. MyEventsCoordinator—St. Louis’s award-winning party rental business—and its founder Arinola Solanke proudly boast all of these qualities. Established in 2012, MyEventsCoordinator’s original focus was primarily on event planning. That focus eventually shifted as Arinola began to see a greater need for a provider of top-quality, yet affordably priced party rentals.
My Event Coodinator’s clients have included Metro Transit, Washington University, Harris Stowe State University, Maryville University, VUE 17, New Northside Conference Center, the Youth and Family Center, and the Urban League. In 2019, Arinola’s business was certified by the city of St. Louis as both a Local Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and a Local Women Business Enterprise (WBE).
Arinola Solanke is a recipient of 2018 Women Entrepreneur Award by Queens Night Ministries.
My events Coordinator has been sponsoring V4A annual dinner with quality decorations as in kind donations. She also offers summer jobs for our high school
Diversity and Inclusion Award- Tofauti Award
Earn-A-Computer is a hands-on youth class that teaches participants how to set and achieve goals! After completing a consecutive series of classes, students receive a computer.
This class covers Introduction to computers, Word processing, Creating presentations, Computer programming, as well as safety on the Internet and Computer Networking.
BWorks Earn-a-Bike is a free, hands-on class that teaches basic bicycle maintenance and safety while fostering important life skills including communication, teamwork, and responsibility to children ages 8-17. After completing a consecutive series of classes, participants earn a free bicycle and brand-new helmet, light set, and lock. It is through this experience that many kids from underserved communities are able access resources and opportunities that help them develop interest in STEM
Mentor of the year Award– Mshauri Award. Dr. Nhial Tutlam
Dr Nhial has been very committed to the program and always goes out of his way to provide support and guidance for his mentees. He was the mentor of Gracemary Nganga, who was accepted by over 22 prestigious Universities and received over $4 million dollars of scholarships.
Among other mentees is Bridgette Mwaniki, who has been in the country for less than a year and is already making headlines in St Louis.
Community Service- Moran Award:
Joseph has been very actively involved in our youth program where he takes the lead on addressing issues that affect immigrant and refugee youth in the region. V4A Youth mentorship program helps to connect immigrant professionals with college and high school students. He is also one of the founders of ACT preparation program for immigrant’s high school students in North County. Joseph is a bright student, focused and has the character and potential to be the first student from our community to be admitted to some of the most prestigious universities in this country.
When Joseph was introduced to Vitendo 4 Africa’s mission, he was eager to help in our efforts and immediately took charge in some of the programs. Last summer he joined a group of ten (was this group 8 or 10 students) high school students to raise money for a service project in Kenya. The group worked hard to raise over $10,000 and helped to build two classrooms in a remote part of Kenya.
Going above and beyond, this year he approached V4A to start a Technology Club for immigrant’s middle school girls. The program was launched during summer break and Joseph took charge of the program with a group of 18 girls, teaching them coding, website building and public speaking. Even when faced with many challenges of lack of resources, he spent his own money to make sure no student is left behind. This has inspired many girls to develop an interest in technology and he hopes to extend the program to reach more students in elementary and middle school.
At his school, Hazelwood West High school, Joseph is involved in CyberPatriotes and technology student’s association.
Joseph has proved to be an essential part of the work we’ve accomplished and I can see the positive impact which he always leaves with his students and peers.
Dennis has been involved in Vitendo4africa Special events, kids and youth activities. For the last four years Dennis has played a great leadership role in our annual dinner and health screening events.
Dennis is also involved in Soccer coaching for kids k-12 on our soccer program for immigrants and refugee’s youth.
As a mentee, Dennis is very active and always attends monthly meetings and other youth meetings. Last year Dennis was part of the eight students who helped to raise over $10,000 for a service project in Kenya.
Dennis has been very actively involved in our youth program where He takes the lead on addressing issues that affect immigrant and refugee youth in St Louis. He is also a part of the Youth Mentorship Program; the program helps to connect immigrant professionals with college and high school students.
In 2013 when Dennis was in middle school he initiated a shoe drive project and collected over 600 pairs of shoes. This motivated eleven more youth to be part of the project and they joined Dennis for a trip to Kenya to donate shoes and community service. Since then V4A has been organizing shoe drive and mission trips to Kenya for immigrant’s high school students.
Last year Dennis and other Pipes international volunteers went for a mission trip to Asia where they donated school supplies to schools and orphanages.
Dennis is a great role model to many young boys and girls in the African community in St Louis. He takes a lead in our STEM program where we provide practical activities to encourage other immigrant’s student to develop interest in STEM field.
Priscilla Wangunyu has been very actively involved in our kids, youth and women program for immigrant and refugees’ families in St. Louis. She takes a lead role in addressing issues that affect immigrant and refugee’s youth, she volunteers to interpret for immigrant women during mammogram screening and health awareness forums.
As a mentee, Princilla is very active and always attends monthly meetings and other youth meetings. She is very committed to the program, always in touch with her mentor and never misses monthly meetings and other educational field trips and youth workshops.
Last year Pricillar was part of the eight students who helped to raise over $10,000 for a service project in Kenya.
Bridgett Mwaniki came from Kenya this year and she did not waste any time. She immediately took change in teaching swahili and African Dance to our Immigrants kids. She also enrolled as a volunteer at magic House where she commands great respect among the staff and the visiting clients.
She took advantage of V4A mentorship program and with the help of her mentor, Bridgette took a bold move to create mental health awareness in her school and in the immigrant Community.
This month she was selected to represent St Louis High school students to speak at UN day event at International Institute.
Bridget received numerous awards and speaking engagements in Kenya.
Emerging Leaders Award- Kiongozi Award-
Brian Barlay is a native from Sierra Leone, West Africa and an alumni from Saint Louis Community College- Meramec. At Meramec, he was the president of the International Club, cofounder/President for Black Student in Education and Empowerment Club, Archer Peer Leader Dan (who is Dan and why is he introduced into Brian’s segment) was actively involved with TRIO Student Support Services and Student Activity Council. Brian graduated with a Bachelor of Arts at SLU majoring in International Studies, Foreign Services, Sociology with an emphasis in Urbanization, Immigration and Demographics. He is currently pursuing a master’s in Business Administration at Webster University
He is passionate about the African community in St. Louis and he hopes for St. Louis to have a unique African presence through inclusion in art, music, food and community involvement.
Furthermore, he is actively involved with Sierra Leone community in St. Louis, he is the cofounder and president of Missouri Young African Professionals. MOYAP is an organization that seeks to unite African students in St. Louis through community empowerment and leadership development. He has been working with V4A high school mentees to organize College visits around st louis region.
Stephanie is a high school junior at Lutheran High School and currently a mentee in V4A mentorship program. Stephanie helps to coordinate youth meetings, youth activities at V4A and at Christ Covenant Church.
Stephanie has been very actively involved in youth mentorship program, Coordinating ACT prep classes , group field trips and other social events. For the last four years Stephanie has played a great leadership role in our annual dinner and health screening events.
Best Community Impact Award- Umoja Award- Balwin Neigborhood Community:
Ballwin neighbors is a community that incorporates the diverse African Community living in West County. The group motto is “Be your Brother’s keeper” where they use the mode of communication through WhatsApp and word of mouth.
This Community was born after a Kenyan student who lived in Ballwin had a newborn baby and was lonely and in need of. When one community member heard about it, she reached out to other friends in the area and gathered a couple of friends and were able to pay her a visit at home. Upon deliberations the group agreed to come up with a schedule to regularly visit and offer help
The group organizes family picnics at the park every summer where the meet and welcome new families
Outstanding Community Organizer – Agyeman Manu-Dapaah
- St. Louis is the only major city in America with One Association representing the Ghanaian Community. The association members are made of individuals from all walks for life – social, economic, tribe, and religious groups.
In the immediate weeks before I took over, this beautiful record was threatened as people who were not happy with the association made advanced plans to break away. I made it my goal to ensure that we stick together as a people and preserve the oneness we have come to be known for. Today, we are stronger than ever and still hold the record as the only major city in America with One Ghanaian Association whose membership cut across the socio-economic, religious, and tribal divide.
- Worked with an organization in Ghana to build a classroom block in one of the deprived villages in Ghana. The children used to study under a tree.
- The Ghanaian Association became a platform for young talents within the African community at large to come and showcase their God-given talent. Musicians, Poets, Fashion designers, Comedians, ETC were welcome and encouraged to perform in the quest to develop stage presence and presentation. One such business that sprang up from this effort is YKG Crafts here in St. Louis.
- Worked hard for the association to become a better support system for each other. Members contributed immensely towards events such as funerals, child birth etc.
- Worked hard to increase young people involvement, integration, and acceptance into the association. We have more active students than any moment in the Association History.
- Members participation is all time high than any moment in the association history.
- Created a system where young active international student can help with chores and other household tasks for a small fee to help buy for supplies.
V4A Ambassador Award- Balozi Award
- David Githinji has been great Ambassador for the African Immigrants and refugees in St Louis. He has been on the fore front championing the interest of the African Immigrants in St Louis. This year David has done a good job to Connect the African immigrants with:
- North County, Missouri University Extension Program,
- St. Louis Zoo and other Immigrant Service providers
- Dr. David is also one of the most engaging mentors in the mentorship program. He has been assigned three mentees who have made tremendous progress both in academics and Social life.
F4KIDZ African Performing Arts..
- Offers a unique opportunity to share the rich African culture through dance and music. This group of young artists comprising of middle school immigrant students, uses the dance and drumming to promote the African culture in Missouri. In addition to general entertainment, this program creates a platform for African Kids and youth to boost their self-esteem, confidence and a sense of identity. By sharing their stories and experiences, many teachers, students and staff are more equipped to relate well with people from diverse backgrounds