Plugging In


**Plugging in #4 – “Introducing TeenSHARP”
By Lara Abiona (TeenSHARP alumna and Junior at Trinity College)

On Tuesday July 1st, 2014 TeenSHARP had the privilege of hosting 25 African leaders, in residence at the University of Delaware (UD), who were selected as part of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

Overall, there were 500 YALI fellows representing 49 African countries being hosted at 20 different universities across the United States. The 25 fellows visiting TeenSHARP represented 19 different countries including: Burundi, Cameroon, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, The Kingdom of Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

As many of the UD YALI fellows are engaged in youth activism and leadership development work in their respective countries, TeenSHARP was selected for a site visit during the fellows’ 6-week institute at UD.

As a TeenSHARP alumna, I joined a group of other TeenSHARP alumni, students, parents, and staff in planning and facilitating the fellows’ visit to Rutgers-Camden to learn more about TeenSHARP’s work.

After over 3 hours of dialogue, interactive exercises, and idea-exchange I left the event incredibly inspired. The fellows each demonstrated a strong, intrinsic motivation to change the world and a strong faith that they will be successful.

As they explained their different projects and non-profit organizations and heard those of my fellow TeenSHARPies, they shared their passion for social justice in their respective cause and country with such a contagious energy that my own justice-driven heart was elated…

What is TeenSHARP?

TeenSHARP is an official certifying organization for the President’s Volunteer Service Awards program. This allows us to acknowledge our volunteers with this prestigious national award after they complete a certain number of volunteer hours.

See for more details.

*** TeenSHARP is always looking for dynamic and ambitious volunteers who want to make a difference in the lives of young people and their community. Here are a few ways that you can help us achieve our goals:

TeenSHARP session support

Highly-interactive bi-monthly training sessions are a major component of TeenSHARP. These sessions engage youth in team-building activities, experiential learning exercises, break-out discussions, reflection and planning, and leadership skills practice. Individuals who are passionate about working with teens and encouraging high-achievement are invited to apply to serve on TeenSHARP’s session support team. The support team will work with the teens during TeenSHARP sessions and assist the program facilitators in making each session a success.


TeenSHARP engages in regular academic consultations with its participants and in the process learns of the many needs of our youth and their families. Through our discussions with teens and their families and  review of participants’ report cards and progress reports, it is clear that many of the youth served through the program could benefit from regular tutoring sessions. TeenSHARP invites qualified individuals to serve as tutors in math, reading, foreign languages, and other subjects for its participants either once per week or 2-3 times per week.

TeenSHARP Project Leaders

TeenSHARP has opportunities for qualified volunteers to lead projects tailored to their interests and availability. The project leader positions with TeenSHARP allow volunteers to gain valuable project management experience while also impacting the families and communities served by TeenSHARP.

College Prep Mentors

TeenSHARP is looking for qualified undergraduate or graduate student volunteers to serve as college prep mentors for TeenSHARP high school students. The college prep mentors will receive training and will then be paired with one high school student each to provide them with college prep advising and hold them accountable for their college prep action plan.

Donate to TeenSHARP

If you would like to support the TeenSHARP program and lack the time to participate, we invite you to contribute financially to help the program meet its objectives. TeenSHARP is starting a scholarship fund for its participants in 2011 and is also looking for sponsors for its spring college tours. Our participants regularly make us aware of the resources needed to prepare them for leadership and college success and your donation will be instrumental in acquiring those resources for them. You can donate via paypal using the following link:

If you would like to apply for a volunteer position with TeenSHARP, share any ideas about how you can help, or make a donation to the program; please contact us at or 609.505.4285.



saro 1saro 3saro 2

Plugging In #3:



Introducing ‘Saro The Musical’:   by Moji Delano

On the 25th of December, 2014, I was invited to come on board at the Muson center in Lagos and do live tweets from the stage play ‘Saro the Musical.”

For me it was just work, and I was in no way prepared for the awesomeness of the show.

The plot of the play centers around four talented young people in an age-old search for greener pasture, who migrate to Lagos with little else but an abundance of hopes and dreams, where they are duly reoriented by the people and experiences they encounter on their journey of self-realization.

Weaving together the trials, misfortunes, love, and destinies of the foursome into a 14-act masterpiece, Saro tells the unforgettable and inspiring story of the journey to success in a city filled with broken dreams, as we see Lagos personified by its numerous colorful and unforgettable characters, frenetic pace of living, and endless drama.

Boasting a 100-man cast performing on a one-of-its-kind custom-built stage, Saro traces and pays homage to Nigeria’s rich musical history by beautifully rendering some of our greatest hits over the years, while also delivers its own ingeniously composed original music. The choreography and rendition of songs? Perfection. The highly entertaining stage drama combines both urban and traditional songs and dance moves, to create an epic, one of a kind musical. The technical side was also properly handled. The delivery of the sound was very crisp, rich and highly pleasant to the ears.

And who knew Gideon Okeke(Phillip Ade-Williams of Tinsel) could sing so good? His performance as well as that of Bimbo Manuel, Dolapo Oni and other lead actors in the musical is nothing short of award winning.

When it comes to stage shows, I’m a HUGE critic, and Saro the musical by far surpassed my expectation for a Nigerian production. For me, it is the best N5000, anyone can spend on a show this festive period (Tickets start at N5000). The organizers also did a good job by making sure that regardless of where you are seated in the hall, you get a very good view of the stage.

The downside however is that today is the last and final day that Saro will be showing. The first show is by 1pm. Then two others by 4pm and 7pm. yours truly will also be there working today.

Please, if you are less busy, and want to have a good time especially with friends and family, Saro the musical is the show to watch.

Written By: Moji Delano’s Blog



Plugging In #2 – By Nerrymandis

At a point, I began to wonder if this was a letter to me….so resonated with me and my person. But trust me, it’s not easy to let go of protecting yourself when you’ve been killed emotionally before…and through His Grace, you’re able to find some form of healing…

God doesn’t come down from Heaven to direct us….He does that by guiding us through wisdom to learn & know how to identity the tell tale signs that sets off the alarm in our heads that it’s time to shield ourselves from being hurt again by another fellow human…

I can say with my strongest conviction, “that deep emotional hurt is the worst hurt you can put anyone through…especially those who grew up knowing how to truly love… The deep sense of hurt, hopelessness and emptiness that comes from being deeply hurt and betrayed by someone you got deeply into your heart is something I don’t really think people fully recover from…maybe wrong, but that’s my view for now.

Even when healed, the deep scar is always there to remind you…

And if truly whatever didn’t kill us made us stronger, or if indeed the hardest metal is meant to pass through the hottest furnace in order to attain the very high level of resistance & strength needed from it, then maybe….and only maybe…it was God’s way of strengthening us up for bigger challenges ahead… And we may not have been able to float and sail through them if we learnt not to protect ourselves from eventual emotional hurt which would have had more devastating effect…

Not to also say it’s best to live through life looking behind our back all the time as per the fear of being emotionally hurt again…

But all said and done, It’s only naturally instinctive for a child to stay away from a fire after having been burnt once…

So it’s all a lot more complex than it seems… And only if you’ve experienced such a hurt canl you be able to fully understand how devastating it can be on every aspect of one’s life…

But remembered, its easier to say my God has put me through that furnace in order for me to acquire the wisdom I have now….which is shielding/guiding my every step from another bigger danger, than it is to say I am gonna jump high into the air and fly from the roof top….knowing fully well that the Lord God will either miraculously grow wings for me to fly…or he’ll step out invisibly and hold me in the air all through my flight…

Very thought provoking write up… Just hope my reply isn’t longer than the main write up itself 🙂
Thank you, Yinka.

Written by: Nerrymandis for #Moving Forward With Yinka.


Plugging in #1

“Reason for the Season” – written by: Kehinde Oguntunde.

As I sat in my car enduring the short traffic I uually encounter on my way home from work, I had so many things on my mind. One in particular struck out and it was my act of giving. I guess I was growing weary of giving; is it my time, resources, money, or emotions without actually receiving anything back. I was actually concluding in my mind that this giving thing has got to stop.

All of a sudden, the presenter on the radio station I was “actually not listening to” said something that jolted me out of my thoughts. I’ve heard it a zillion times, in fact, I’ve preached about it to others. It’s the fact that in this season of Christmas, God GAVE, not just an ordinary thing, but His own BEGOTTEN Son. How great that is. How marvelous. This piece would not have come to limelight but for a question that my daughter asked me. She said why did Jesus had to die, why did God had to give His Son. Then the incident in the car all came back to me.

When you give yourself, the gift never has to be returned. God puts us in our present position for a reason. You may think you do not have enough, but think about those who have nothing at all. Giving doesn’t necessarily means monetary, it could mean several things. Here are a few examples:

*Mend a quarrel.
*Seek out a forgotten friend.
*Write a long overdue love note especially to your spouse.
*Hug someone tightly and whisper, “I love you so.”
*Forgive an enemy.
*Be gentle and patient with an angry person.
*Gladden the heart of a child.
*Find the time to keep a promise.
*Make or bake something for someone else anonymously.
*Release a grudge.
*Speak kindly to a stranger.
*Enter into another’s sorrow.
*Laugh a little.
*Lessen your demands on others.
*Treat a client like you care and not just a case number
*Apologize if you were wrong.
*Turn off the television and talk.
*Give someone a treat.
*Do the dishes for the family.
*Pray for someone who helped you when you hurt.
*Fix breakfast on Saturday morning.
*Give a soft answer even though you feel strongly.
*Encourage an older person.
*Point out one thing you appreciate most about someone you work with or live near.
*Offer to babysit for a weary mother.

In this season of merriment, let’s make Christmas one long, extended gift of ourselves to others, unselfishly, without obligation, or reservation, or hypocrisy.

This is the Christ we celebrate on Christmas.
Merry Christmas everyone.








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2 responses to “Plugging In

  1. Toyin

    February 13, 2014 at 2:49 am

    While we can not possibly ‘revisit’ our very first emotion, we most certainly can ‘revisit’ all the good times. The good times not only of laughter and success, but also the disappointments and seeming times of defeat. Those times we possibly could have come through alone but with more or deeper scars, those times that love and the knowledge of being loved kept us going. This is most important for us as women. We tend to ‘burn out’ and need recharging. We have to slow down, bring out the old and I mean ooooooollllllldddd pictures, share the stories, laugh at and with one another, praise God for where He has brought us from, where we are and where He is taking us. Most importantly, we need to ask the Holy Spirit who teaches us ALL things to teach us to love……..


    • Anthonia

      February 21, 2014 at 11:53 pm

      Well said Toyin, revisiting the “good old times” is certainly an avenue to rekindle the sparkle and recharge our feelings for each other. Absolutely – like all the women I know – constant reminder of how much they are loved and also vice versa for the men – is another constant means of keeping it together. We don’t need to wait for special events to say it or give flowers – feelings expressed spontaneously will more likely make it a lasting one.



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