Seventeen-year-old Nosa Akol was born in Sudan and moved to the states when she was 5-years-old. Akol says throughout her childhood and teens she was teased because of her dark skin. The taunts ate away at what little self-esteem her tumultuous life had permitted.
In response, she folded into herself and tried to disappear into the crowds at West Middle School, then Binghamton High in New York.
The sharp barbs shaped her personality.
“It made me really insecure when I passed by large groups,” she said.
But when she discovered the opportunities open to her through the 4-H Club, and Nosa, then a high school freshman, threw herself into one project after another.
As National 4-H Council has named Nosa the 2015 recipient of the 4-H Youth in Action award, she seems well on her way.
“Through the work that I will do in my life, I want to be known as the person who saw an issue, became the change, and did something about it,” Nosa stated.
Nosa will receive a $10,000 scholarship and was honored on April 23 at National 4-H Council’s sixth annual Legacy Awards in Washington, D.C., but while Nosa look forwards to her bright future, she also remembers where she came from.
Before she graduates from BHS she’ll have partnered with 4-H alumnus and rising food star Lazarus Lynch to spearhead a Hunger Banquet and Poverty Simulation that will aim to encourage the community to help end world hunger.
“I was a shy hermit of a girl,” Nosa said, “and now I’m trying to make a difference.”