Goodness 2022 Youth of the Year Story

I grew up in a happy bubble with a mindset that everyone else in Nigeria was as happy and comfortable as I was. I even thought that it was normal when one of my cousins died from a sickness. My mindset started to change when I lost one of my favorite aunts to an accident because a public hospital refused to operate on her unless bills were paid. My aunt had to move to avoid being killed by a terrorist group, my parents were robbed on their way to a relative’s wedding, and our house was robbed while we were out.

When we moved here my parents kept talking about the corruption and bad leadership, the ethnic wars and terrorism going on in the country. It wasn’t until I moved here that I had a better view of what a country should be.

My name is Goodness Ajao, I am 17 years old, and I am Oshkosh Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year. I am currently a senior at Oshkosh North High School. I have 3 siblings, together we moved to the United States in January of 2018.

My siblings and I started going to the club after school, so we had somewhere to go until our parents finished work. On our first day, my elder sister and I walked into a keystone meeting where new members were being introduced, and they encouraged us to join, so we did.

My club helped keep me on track through their mentoring programs, as a result, I’ve been accepted into UW River Falls where I will be majoring in neuroscience. My club has also helped me become more independent. Ever since I moved here there hasn’t been a day I was without my parents, but then we went on a college tour for 2 days and we had to sleep overnight. I was very happy to see that I could survive without my parents being there with me. Now I am one of the co-presidents of my keystone club. My club is working on educating people about climate change.

Throughout my years in my club, I realized that my club is a great place for kids to learn how to be independent, and it can also help kids get out of their shells and become more outgoing. With my club’s help I am now on the path to achieving my dream of becoming a Neurosurgeon. My younger sister and I hope to use the leadership skills we’ve gained at the club to start a Non-governmental Organization in Nigeria once we have the power and opportunity to do so.

My club has inspired me to have better dreams not only for myself and my siblings but also for my country, Nigeria while teaching me the skills to achieve my dreams.

-By Goodness, 2022 Youth of the Year

Proud sponsor of Healthy Habits and Triple Play programs

The Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh is a United Way agency.