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Houston Texans

Okoye recognized for community work


The Houston City Council honored defensive tackle Amobi Okoye for his community service efforts in Houston and abroad on Tuesday, presenting him with a certificate from mayor Bill White that proclaimed April 14, 2009, as Amobi Okoye Foundation Day.

The 21-year-old Okoye's foundation focuses on addressing the basic needs of children and their surrounding communities to help them develop toward a brighter future. Its scope ranges from Houston to Okoye's native Nigeria, where he has developed a program called Changing Africa Through Education (C.A.T.E).

In March, Okoye made his second annual trip to Nigeria with other NFL players. On the nine-day trip, funded mostly by Okoye, the group handed out 28 athletic scholarships, hosted football and physical fitness camps and sponsored five free medical clinics, including one in Okoye's hometown of Anambra.

"For me, I'm not the most spiritual person – my mom is," Okoye said. "But after I got drafted, I really had a revelation, probably the first revelation I've ever had in my life. That revelation was that there's a plan and purpose for my life, and this is part of it."

{QUOTE}Players who have joined Okoye in Nigeria include the New York Giants' Osi Umenyiora and Chicago's Tommie Harris, Adewale Ogunleye and Isreal Idonije. In addition to educating Nigerian children about the game of football, Okoye hopes to build an academy there and has met with the Nigerian vice president and other dignitaries to secure funding for the project.

He also plans to bring the C.A.T.E program to other African countries in future years.

"The more we go down there and the more we come back, we get more ideas of more programs that we really want to sink our teeth into," Okoye said. "But we've just got to slow things down, take them one at a time.

"The plan is to go every year. I already have athletes who play with me and those who don't play with me on other teams who have asked to come along on the next trip, make sure I give them a call when we're going to make sure they make the trip."

In Houston, Okoye has established programs including Kickoff for Kids, an annual football camp for inner-city youth; Tackle Hunger, which educates children about nutrition and provides food for underprivileged families on Thanksgiving; and Amobi's House, a youth community achievement center.

The off-field activities help Okoye stay motivated on the football field, especially on early mornings during offseason workouts.

"When you think about how blessed you are and the people that you're helping out, you'll realize that you are blessed, so therefore you've got to get up and keep on doing the things that help you stay blessed – that way you can bless other people," he said. "That's the motivation I get from it."


Find out more about Okoye's community work at his foundation's website, *******.*

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