During our 2014 ‘Can You Hear The Voices?’ Annual Dinner Celebration at Voice of Hope, 28-year-old Mikaela Nweke, was presented the Award of Achievement because she embodies the definition of Voice of Hope’s mission to help children grow to be productive Christian citizens.
Mikaela first came to Voice of Hope’s ASPIRE program at the age of 11 when her mother needed to find a place for her to go after school. It was at the ASPIRE program that Mikaela found a sense of confidence, and developed a greater relationship with God.
‘Although my family attended church, there was not much action from a Christian aspect at my house. It wasn’t until I went to Voice of Hope that I had an understanding of Biblical aspects of life,’ says Mikaela.
By the age of 15, Mikaela -- along with other teenagers in ASPIRE -- began leading her own classroom in both the after-school program and Summer Day Camp. Through planning education curriculum, creating Bible study lessons and even raising money for student field trips, Mikaela grew into a leader, found her voice and understood the importance of responsibility and productivity for herself and her community.
‘Overall ASPIRE created a great developmental process for me. I had to get out of my shell, I had to learn to speak up, and I had to be responsible, and I found out then how naturally all of those characteristics came to me,’ says Mikaela.
Even as a college student at Prairie View A&M University, Mikaela found time to volunteer with Voice of Hope; giving back to the place that she says gave so much to her. After deciding to pursue post-graduate studies at Purdue University Mikaela had to end her long-standing volunteer service, but says Voice of Hope will always hold a special place for her.
‘I had the chance to come together with my peers, to learn responsibility and to learn how to be a leader. It was a great experience that I’ll never forget.’
Mikaela now lives in Houston and is a Global Production Volume & Allocation Analyst with ExxonMobil.