The second Sunday of May seems long ago, now that we’ve all returned from our Memorial Day holiday. But that special Mothers Day Sunday, the second of the month, was also the day when all donations not otherwise designated go toward that month’s charity.
In May, the recipient was ILYA, Independent Living for Young Adults. In recognition of this program, which began here in this church as an outreach of the Social Justice Committee 18 years ago, Kathie Stamm, a member of the ILYA Leadership Team, interviewed her friend, Odunayo, (OD), who has been a recipient of ILYA services over the last three years. OD has just completed his junior year at the University of DE majoring in Civil Engineering.
OD is a native of Nigeria and arrived in the U.S. in 2016 at the age of 14. He attended Delcastle High School where he played basketball, his favorite sport, which he continues to play at the University of Delaware. When he first arrived, he lived with a host family and when that was no longer available, he became part of the Division of Family Service’s system ultimately finding his way to a foster home. OD said being in foster care in high school was something he didn’t talk about. It would set him apart as being different.
OD told us about aging out of foster care and that he still has a very positive relationship with his foster family. He said that receiving services from ILYA has made his life easier as a student and that he appreciated receiving Student Care Packages, a New Apartment Kit and the Holiday Giving packages — three of the nine ILYA projects supported, at least in part, by your generous donations.
After OD becomes established in his chosen field of Civil Engineering, he hopes to share some of those skills with his home country of Nigeria. He will spend this summer doing an internship with an engineering firm in San Francisco, California.
OD expressed his appreciation for ILYA’s support during the service on May 14 and again during coffee hour when many of you came to talk to him personally. All of the ILYA team joins him in expressing our thanks to all of you once again for your support in our work with young adults over the past 18 years. Your contributions in May will make a big difference in continuing such projects as Student Care Packages, Holiday Giving, Baby Supplies, New Apartment Kits and this month’s big one —Graduation Celebrations! Thank you again.