Soul Kisses: Exclusive Interview With Aisha DaCosta-Paul Of I AM Okah
I AM Okah is a nonprofit organization that is the legacy of your sister Kahdine, who passed away at the age of 26 from breast cancer. Please tell us your ultimate goal and vision for your organization.
My goal for I AM O’Kah! is to impact our children by helping them remix the vision for their lives. Far too often, our children are placed in boxes and their visions are limited by someone else’s perspective on who they should become. Parents do it and even well meaning educators do, it all in the hopes of helping our children become “successful” adults. What is success if it isn’t defined by a life that is exhilarating and fueled by a passion that provides for your needs? The remix is about redefining life based on the things you are passionate about and the activities that create value. Our goal is to use I AM O’Kah! to break down the physiological barriers to success (skewed perspectives) and help our children attain their greatest selves. We simply state that vision in our tagline “unlocking greatness”. That’s it; our goal is to unlock greatness in the children that we serve.
One of first programs listed on your site is your Financial Rockstar Academy. Why finance? Paint us a picture as to what this program looks like from day 1 until the end of the semester.
The Financial Rockstar Academy is built on three 6-week modules. The modules consist of entrepreneurship, financial literacy and financial security. Currently, we are focused on the entrepreneurship module. We have placed our focus on the entrepreneurship module because we see it as the cornerstone of a proactive approach to life. Our goal is not to make every child an entrepreneur. We do however intend for all our children to be able to think like entrepreneurs and understand the mechanics of business and the impact it has on their personal decisions.
This fall we are trying something new and incorporating into our Financial Rockstar Academy 6 weeks of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) enrichment, 6 weeks of entrepreneurship training, and 4 weeks of public speaking. The classes will overlap to cover a 12-week period. At the end of the 12-weeks our students get the opportunity to compete for micro-business grants. The grant winners will be assigned business mentors through our partnership with MBA students from a local university. The mentors will work with them and their parents for 30-days to get their business up and running.