While Baltimore Ravens’ safety James Ihedigbo is battling on the field every Sunday, he works just as hard off the field with his “HOPE Africa” foundation.
On Monday evening Ihedigbo and several of his Ravens teammates and guests took to the seas for the first annual Celebrity Cruise & Casino Charity event in support of his foundation.
Ihedigbo’s HOPE Africa foundation helps deserving African students who have a deep determination to excel through education, by providing them scholarships to elite American Universities as well as providing a network of support, resources and opportunities.
It doesn’t stop there.
While in the United States, the students participate in service projects and engagement within American communities. Empowered with educational resources and experiences, these young men and women will be able to help countless others in their home countries by creating new and sustainable resources in the areas of education, health, medicine, human services, community structure, business or the environment.
“It’s all about giving back and carrying on a legacy,” Ihedigbo said when asked about his foundation. “It takes that financial burden off that family with the scholarship so they can concentrate on the books.”
The sixth-year safety holds this cause very near and dear to his heart, and with good reason. In the 1980′s his family immigrated from Umuahia, a small village in Nigeria, to the United States with dreams of higher education and the determination to make those dreams a reality. Apollos and Rose Ihedigbo, along with their five children, settled in Western Massachusetts. While holding a variety of odd jobs and caring for the children, both Apollos and Rose attended graduate school at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Both walked away with a Ph.D. in education and an extensive network of resources, and turned their dream into a reality of giving back.
Several Ravens teammates joined James on this special night including Ray Rice, Vonta Leach, Morgan Cox, Arthur Jones, Jameel McClain, Jimmy Smith to name a few. Guests were treated to a evening full of live music, casino games, raffle prizes, silent auction, surprise performances and much much more.
But the night belonged to James and his mother Rose. “Since his dad Apollo has passed, James has stepped up to continue the legacy of his father to make sure that the underprivileged are supported and those who cannot afford certain levels of education can acquire that education,” Rose Ihedigbo responded about the importance of the foundation is to her son James.
With the holiday season among us and the hustle and bustle of everyday life it is refreshing to see such a great thing being done for these students. While James never seeks attention for all that he is doing he certainly deserves it.
For more information on the Hope Africa foundation visit http://www.hopeafricausa.org/index.html
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