Triplets Sheri, Rucca and Risi Ademola have started iLead Nigeria, a campaign and curriculum designed to help elementary school-aged students develop skills to one day become leaders in their country. Sheri and Risi will graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill on Sunday, while Rucca finished a semester early and graduated in December.
Destiny brings triplets to Carolina
sisters Risi and Sheri Ademola graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill this
weekend, they will head in different directions. Risi is moving to San
Francisco or New York for work, while Sheri will start graduate school
in Illinois. Their other sister, Rucca, graduated a semester ahead of
them in December and is heading to Los Angeles for more school.
the distance that will be between them, the triplets from Raleigh will
maintain a common and active bond to Carolina. The trio is developing a
project called iLead Nigeria, a campaign and curriculum designed to help
elementary school-aged students develop skills to one day become
leaders in their country.
mission is personal for the Ademola triplets. Their parents immigrated
to the United States from Nigeria before the triplets were born. The
sisters have visited their family there regularly since 2002.
“It won’t be right for us not to go back and help our country,” says Risi.
A moral responsibility
came up with the idea for iLead as a senior at Southeast Raleigh Magnet
High School. Her graduation project looked at educational methods to
help Nigeria youth. As part of the project, she donated school supplies
and developed a leadership curriculum.
At UNC, Risi received a Bryan Social Innovation Fellowship through the Carolina Center for Public Service to
expand on the idea. The fellowship is designed for students who want to
make a significant change in a community through an entrepreneurial
project. Fellowship team members enroll in a public policy course and
receive up to $1,500 to help launch their ideas, support from staff and
other students and leadership training and personal development.
three of the Ademola sisters are working on the leadership curriculum,
along with another UNC senior, Toyosi Oyelowo. They have adopted an
elementary school to work with and they keep in touch with the principal
there once a month. Risi will return to Nigeria this summer to further
work on the program.
iLead Nigeria curriculum includes public speaking and career
development lessons, but also seeks to help the young students further
develop traits such as courageousness, persistence, patience and hard
work. The women hope the Nigerian students will use what they learn
through the curriculum to become community leaders or leaders in their
careers who will speak out about injustices.
women hope to develop iLead Nigeria into a campus organization in which
two or three Carolina students work on the program in Nigeria each
summer. They would also like to expand the program to other schools in
Nigeria and recruit Nigerian university students to work on the program
“I feel like it is kind of like a moral responsibility for us. We’ve been blessed here,” says Rucca.
Destiny to come to Carolina together
triplets say it was destiny that brought all three of them to Carolina.
They each served in student government in high school, with Risi as
president, Sheri as vice president and Rucca as secretary. By their
senior year, they started to develop separate interests from each other.
they came to Carolina together and lived together for two years, they
found different ways to occupy their time. Sheri majored in psychology
and by her sophomore year had started conducting neurobehavioral
research in the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies in the UNC School of Medicine.
Risi, a journalism major, joined a sorority and loved to dance. Rucca,
who majored in women and gender studies and African, African-American,
and Diaspora Studies, started practicing yoga and meditation and spent a
lot of time journaling.
and Sheri also spent a semester abroad in the fall, while Rucca
finished her coursework at UNC early and graduated a semester ahead of
her sisters. Still, the triplets came together to work on iLead Nigeria
because they want children in their parents’ home country to have the
opportunities they have had in the United States.
word ‘destiny’ really captures our moments here at Carolina,” Sheri
said. “We have been so involved in different activities for four years
now and toward the latter part of our college experience, we have come
together for this one project. I think it is kind of interesting. I
think it is a little bit striking.”
Edited by PurplePhase - May 06 2014 at 1:45pm