Back to Base empowerment is an initiative of Youthful and vibrant Alumni of Comprehensive High School, Alapere, Ketu Lagos under the Change Ambassadors Network, CAN. It started as a gesture aimed at just giving back to our old school, our alma mata (the Popular ‘Agidi’ school).
The empowerment initiative started on October 30, 2013, barely two months after CAN was founded by visionary alumni from different sets at a meeting on September 8, 2013. The Back to base empowerment was CAN’s first program and it became clear to all that we alumni have come together to make tremendous impact – a clear departure from the old order of some alumni group formed to organize party.
We were more determined to have this program after the then Principal of the school, Mr Animashaun told us how academic performance of the students had dwindled. The maiden event featured Seminar, inspirational talks from renowned motivational speaker Sebastine Nwaneri, prizes ranging from books, life-changing magazines and awards were given to students who are performing well academically. It was indeed the most impactful event ever held in the school.
The awards presentation continued in 2014 with brilliant Joseph Ukeme receiving the prestigious CAN Award and in 2015, it was the turn of blazing Animashaun Rasheedat Omotayo and Okorire to be rewarded by CAN for their exceptional academic performance. Little did we know the great impact of the awards presentation and seminar in the lives of the students.
In July 2016, I returned home from work and received an emotional message from some student of 2016 class of the CHSA. That day was their Valedictory Service but CAN was not informed by the School management as previously done.My cousin told me that three of them came to the house in the morning asking to see me and asking if CAN was coming to present awards at their V.S. but they were told that I had gone to work and wouldn’t be attending.
My cousin told me they left with sad looks apparently disappointed and were repeatedly asking how they can get across to me. When i heard this, i was almost moved to tears. So these students are really looking forward to this award.
I immediately called an urgent meeting of stakeholders and alumni to plan for Back to base 2016. We became more resolute in ensuring the program continues annually after Rasheedat, previous recipient of the CAN award and former head girl of the school told us in one of our meetings how her juniors in school kept asking her about the award she had received, telling her that they were also working hard to receive same.
The Principal also confirmed that academic performance of the students has improved tremendously as at 2016. What a great impact.
Back to base 2016 was awesome, with Barrister Oluwatoyosi Oluwatosin Abikoye unlocking great potentials in the students with an eye-opening and targeted training on becoming a high-flyer. Awards were also presented to two best graduating students, Omoyele Elizabeth and Nwanoro Prince. And also a notice board was donated to the school. The event was widely reported in the media.
Today, the initiative is five years old and it’s fulfilling for CAN Members, rewarding excellence and affecting lives of the youths positively.
I’m deeply grateful to all CAN members who helped in achieving this great vision, those who stayed committed to the great cause and even those who left us in the saddle for reasons best known to them.
Together, we have made landmark achievement with the back to base empowerment initiative. We CAN do much more for humanity. Congratulations to the awardees for this year.
To everyone out there, let’s live a life of impact as what we do for ourselves dies with us but what we do for others lives beyond us.
Adeyemi Olalemi is the President of Change Ambassadors Network, the biggest network of Alumni of Comprehensive High School, Alapere, Ketu Lagos.