Gulliver Prep senior Awwal Kay-Ramos is Gulliver’s Silver Knight nominee in the Vocational Technical area.
Kay-Ramos is a triplet and all three brothers are Silver Knight nominees. He and his family are from Nigeria. They visit the African country during school vacations and that’s where they have done the bulk of their community service.
Kay-Ramos has earned more than 1,300 community service hours.
“We started visiting the orphanages at a young age, at six or seven,” he says. “With Nigerian culture there has always been a philanthropic mindset.”
He and his brothers created the Hawka Foundation and they have been doing their community service work through the foundation ever since. During the summer, the boys visit several orphanages and gather a list of needs.
“We went to one each week. They gave us specific counts of children and clothing, food or resources that they needed,” he says. “We were able to pull it together, clothing books, and clothes.”
At one orphanage, they donated three soccer balls and 48 jerseys.
“The same orphanage requested cleats,” he says. “They wanted to play competitively.”
They also take the children their favorite foods and snacks. They spend time with the kids, tutoring them and playing with them.
Because they couldn’t visit last summer, they raised money instead.
“Coming from America and coming from a privilege, I can see the contrast from my life to theirs,” he says. “It’s heartbreaking. I remember asking my mom why are they are all together in one place.”
Kay-Ramos says the children have a hard life so they want to give the children kindness and help and they will continue to do what they can.
“We don’t want to stop giving,” he says.
Not being able to visit last summer was difficult. But they didn’t stop working to improve the children’s lives.
“There is an orphanage called Bab-Es-Salaam, in Lagos, Nigeria,” he says. “When we went there, the kids were focused on school. Over the summer of 2020 we gave them access to WiFi and gave them access to computers so we could tutor them over Zoom. It was fun.
The kids gave us new topics. They were super big for it. They never turned off their cameras. They never muted themselves.”
They are considering doing the Zoom sessions again. He still holds out hope that they might be able to visit, depending on COVID protocols.
In 2019, the teens branched out and created a water polo camp at a school where they taught the children how to play the game. They were disappointed in not being able to go forward last year with another camp.
“It was fun getting to know the kids,” he says. “I would say they have a lot of potential.
They were interested in the sport. They were all genuinely interested in water polo. They had never seen anything like it.”
At Gulliver, Kay-Ramos is on the water polo team, Breakthrough Miami, and Together We Innovate, a club in collaboration with Breakthrough Miami that teaches STEM subjects to the kids from under resourced schools.
“I teach health,” he says. “As an officer, I help set up and organize classes.”
He is in the Health Awareness Club, (HEAL), the Black Culture Club, the Science National Honor Society, the History National Honor Society (Rho Kappa), the National Honor Society and the National Japanese Honor Society.
Kay-Ramos hasn’t made a decision as to which college to attend. The brothers are deciding whether to attend the same school or stay in the same region. His career goal is to go into research primarily in pharmaceuticals and genetics.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld