HOPE Week: Mohamed Kamara, man among boys
The Yankees hopped downtown Wednesday in the continuance of their 2010 HOPE Week (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) by reaching out to Mohamed Kamara, a Sierra Leone native, civil war survivor and recent high school graduate.
General manager Brian Cashman, Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, shortstop and captain Derek Jeter, pitcher CC Sabathia and outfielders Curtis Granderson and Marcus Thames took Kamara on a surprise tour of the New York Stock Exchange during the morning bell ringing. The Yankees then escorted Mohamed to City Hall, where the group was to meet with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Following their trip to City Hall, the Yankees accompanied Mohamed to the United Nations to participate in a photo session with His Excellency Shekou M. Touray, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations, in the Indonesian Lounge. The group took a VIP tour of the General Assembly Hall.
Mohamed Kamara was born in 1992 amid the civil war in his West African homeland of Sierra Leone. Any semblance of a normal childhood was unavailable to him. As the oldest of three brothers and two sisters with an absent father and a mother suddenly ill, Mohamed was forced to become the “man of the house” at age 9, providing for his family by foraging on his own to prevent their starvation.
When the war subsided approximately six years ago, Mohamed, who did not speak English at the time, made the difficult decision to come to the United States to join his aunt and uncle in an impoverished section of the Bronx.
Since arriving here, Mohamed has simultaneously created a life for himself and improved the lives of others.
He graduated in the top quarter of his class at Bronx Leadership Academy High School and earned a partial scholarship to Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island, where he will work toward a business degree.
The past four years, he has remained the breadwinner for his family in Africa despite being a full-time Bronx high school student, working as a caddie at Montammy Golf Club in Alpine, N.J., which requires him to awake for work at 4 a.m. and spend nearly five hours a day in transit in an effort to send every last possible dollar back to Africa.
Mohamed also displays selflessness in his treatment of his peers. He became a mentor and sounding board for other African students in his school, and he founded the Sierra Leone Gentlemen, which organizes benefits at his local church to raise money for children in his homeland to attend school.