"It is about making sure the same opportunities are out there for kids, regardless of gender, and helping to propel them to greatness."
It is about making sure the same opportunities are out there for kids,
regardless of gender, and helping to propel them to greatness.
When Ola Ojewumi first mentions that she had her midlife crisis at age 11, it is somewhat hard to believe. How could an accomplished young adult who uses her talents to motivate and inspire America’s youth, have already had a midlife crisis? That is the point when Ola reveals that at age 11 she had a heart and kidney transplant after an illness went undiagnosed.
“Being a girl, and being African, they didn’t realize I was sick,” said Ola. “At the time it was assumed I couldn’t run well because I was a girl, but actually I had a serious heart condition. What I experienced then spurred me to take action.”
Ola entered college with a scholarship, and ended up with $500 more than she needed. She turned that extra money into the non-profit Project ASCEND College Scholarship Program. MTV caught wind of it and backed the non-profit to the tune of $5,000. After that, Ola’s work took flight.
Presently, she works as a freelance writer and for a federal agency in Washington, D.C. The White House, CNN, Huffington Post, Marie Claire Magazine’s online publication, and the American Association of University Women have published her writings. Recently, she was tapped to serve on the Board of Trustees for Colin Powell’s youth education nonprofit organization—America’s Promise Alliance. In addition to the Project ASCEND College Scholarship Program, she also founded the Sacred Hearts Children’s Transplant Foundation.
“All that I do is about empowering youth--especially girls,” Ola said. “Making sure the same opportunities are out there regardless of gender and helping to propel youth to greatness. It makes me feel good to be able to help foster that.”
Ola is a big fan of music, and loves attending live concerts whenever she can. She also makes a mean cheesecake. Her friend Shawanda is joining her on the cruise.