Providing Aid – Far and Near

July 6, 2020

Giving back is a family tradition for Information Technology employee Darren Boadi. In 2018, he started a fundraiser to purchase bookbags for a school in Ghana, Africa. But this wasn’t just any school – this one was established by his mother, Rita Sarpong.

“My mom was 19 when she came to Bronx, New York, from Ghana. She became a nurse and her goal was to save enough money to send back to her family to establish a school there,” said Darren, who works as a Systems Operations Center analyst.

Darren’s mom raised enough money and the school, serving students from preschool to middle school, opened in 2005. He has visited the school and wanted to do more to provide assistance.

“I loved seeing how the school was helping the children there and I was looking for some way to contribute,” he said. “So, I decided to start a fundraiser to provide money for bookbags and school supplies – something these students needed.”

And, it was a success.

Through a GoFundMe account, Darren’s efforts resulted in $1,500 – enough to purchase more than 250 bookbags and various school supplies.

“It was through the generosity of my fellow FirstEnergy coworkers, my friends and family that I was able to make this happen,” he said.

Darren and his mom distributing the bookbags in 2018.

The schoolchildren proudly display their new bookbags.

But Darren’s philanthropy efforts didn’t stop in Ghana.

You see, after his family left New York, Darren attended high school in Cincinnati, then headed to The University of Akron. After college graduation, he interned for a company in Cleveland before becoming a contract employee for FirstEnergy. He became a full-time employee in 2016.

“I wanted to find a way to give back to children in Cincinnati as well. So, I decided to use my own money to establish a $1,000 scholarship to be given away to a Cincinnati high school senior,” he said. “Once my fraternity and best friend heard about it, they wanted to contribute as well.”

The schoolchildren proudly display their new bookbags.

The first scholarship was presented in 2019. Darren was planning another scholarship program for 2020 when COVID-19 struck.

“The pandemic has slowed me down, but I’m still planning to continue efforts to help children in need. Seeing kids happy – especially those who can’t do for themselves – means a great deal to me. We all need to remember that kids are our future. We have to demonstrate that it’s possible for them to do well. We can do it by setting the best examples.”

Note: The information and photos were submitted prior to implementing COVID-19 preventive measures including social distancing.