Thanks to the hard work and contributions of students in the Katy Independent School District, thousands of children in Nigeria will have access to books, clothing and toys that can help them on the ladder to success.
The District just concluded “Books Abroad,” a six-week drive in cooperation with the Amobi Okoye Foundation. “Books Abroad” is part of Changing Africa Through Education (C.A.T.E), the international arm of the Foundation. Nigeria is the family home of professional football player Amobi Okoye, who moved to the United States when he was 12 and now lives in Katy.
This year’s program netted more than 300 boxes of books, games and electronics, along with 80-plus bags of gently used clothing, from the 26 campuses that sponsored collections. The schools that participated in “Books Abroad” were: Exley, Golbow, Hayes, Hutsell, McRoberts, Morton Ranch, Nottingham Country, Pattison, Schmalz, Stanley, Stephens, West Memorial, Wilson, Winborn and WoodCreek elementaries; Beckendorff, McMeans, Memorial Parkway, Morton Ranch, Seven Lakes and West Memorial junior high schools; Katy, Mayde Creek, Seven Lakes and Tompkins high schools; and Miller Career & Technology Center.
At the conclusion of the drive, Katy Superintendent Alton Frailey said, “I would like to recognize the students and their staff sponsors at each of the participating schools for their enthusiasm and diligence in gathering these contributions to help children and families in Nigeria. The success of this project is another instance of the Katy community’s exemplary generosity to those in need, both here and half a world away.”
“I also would also like to thank Bud Reed, distribution center coordinator, and the staff of the Katy ISD warehouse, who provided invaluable assistance on the logistical end by collecting and bundling all of the donations for shipment abroad. Without their help, these resources would never have taken the next step toward their destination,” he said.
Henry Dibrell, executive director of the Amobi Okoye Foundation acknowledged the importance of the students’ and community’s efforts. “This year we were excited to be able to add toys and clothing for children of all ages to the books and educational materials. Although those don’t play such an obvious role in helping children learn, they are just as important.”
“Nigerian parents often have a difficult time,” he continued,” providing just basic food and shelter for their families, and it can be a struggle to send children to school. When we can assist them with needs like clothing and toys, it helps move the entire family a little farther up the economic ladder.”
This is the second partnership between Katy and the Foundation. In 2009, a similar drive brought in nearly five tons of books and school supplies to benefit Nigerian schools and libraries. Throughout November and December, donations have been collected and stored at the Katy ISD warehouse. They will be shipped to Nigeria for distribution by Foundation emissaries next spring.
By Katy ISD