Profile of Success: Caring Enough to Get the Job Done
“It was great working with a group of incredibly diverse individuals who care about the community and get things done.”
Photographed: Kel Ndu, third in on the left.
I was born in Nigeria, moved to South Africa and then to England before coming to the United States when I was 13. I attended high school about 45 minutes north of Hartford and earned my Bachelor’s degree at the University of Connecticut. At UConn, I had the honor of competing as a Division 1 sprinter on the track and field team while working toward a degree in Accounting, with a minor in Economics. I’m currently working on my law degree at UConn School of Law. Needless to say, I have greatly benefited from the educational opportunities that this state has afforded me. I am fortunate for my experiences, and am excited to help others in reaching their dreams as well.
A short time ago I moved to Hartford and have grown very fond of the city’s vibrant combination of diversity, history and culture. It didn't take very long for me to feel the need to connect with the city and its residents on a more meaningful level. That sentiment also coincided with a growing desire to give back to the community where I live, work and recharge during the weekends. I believe that United Way is one of the best ways to achieve my personal goals and have the greatest impact on others.
I joined the United Way Emerging Leaders Society (ELS) after attending one of their events. I quickly realized that the group’s philanthropic and volunteering initiatives aligned with my need to give back and invest in the community that I now call home.
Last Spring, I participated in an ELS event, the Family Book Festival, at Hartford Public Library. Volunteers came together and organized a day of free, fun literacy-themed activities for children and families. The goal was to promote the importance of reading, especially during the long summer months when continued learning is essential to a child’s academic achievement during the school year. After the activities, children selected two books to take home–nearly 150 donated books were distributed! The event was a blast and it was incredibly rewarding to interact with the community and truly feel I was making a difference.
Another event this past July involved working on the student lounge renovation at Hartford’s Alfred E. Burr Community School. The new, bright lounge was a project developed and designed by ELS members as a place where children can go to continue to learn and engage in fun games and activities. Students earn access to the room through good attendance and behavior, and achieving academic success. It was great working with a group of incredibly diverse individuals who care about the community and get things done. It’s fulfilling to know that we are providing one more incentive for the students to try a little harder every day in school as they grow into future leaders of our community.
The opportunity to be a part of positive social change is what drew me in and continues to inspire other young professionals to join ELS. I am honored to be a member. I look forward to expanding on our efforts so we can work together to create a lasting impact on this community.
--- Kelechi Ndu, The Hartford, Steering Committee Member, Emerging Leaders Society
DO SOMETHING BIG! To learn more about the United Way Emerging Leaders Society, its opportunities and events, and to become a member, please visit unitedwayinc.org/emergingleaders.