The Oakland Raiders are the latest to step up and try to help Oakland teenager Akintunde Ahmad, offering him the chance to load up on Raiders gear before he heads off to Yale for his freshman year in college this fall. That is, of course, assuming that Ahmed can raise enough money to pay for Yale.
For those who are not familiar with his story, Ahmed is a senior at Oakland Technical High school who has a 5.0 GPA and a number of Ivy League acceptance letters. The problem is, like many Oakland teenagers, Ahmed and his family cannot afford to send him away to one of the Ivy League schools. When the San Francisco Chronicle ran a story on Ahmed, a whirlwind of support began for the youth.
Oakland, which is known for having poor schools and a large population who lives in very poor conditions without much hope of improving their slot in life. For many kids in Oakland, the idea of going to college, let alone an Ivy League school, is nothing more than a distant, distant dream. So when people heard about Ahmed, the kid who defied the odds but could not capitalize on his hard work, they wanted to help.
Through crowd funding and a trip to the Ellen DeGeneris show which netted him a $15,000 check from Shutterfly, Ahmed is now close to being able to afford his freshman year of college. He clearly still has a long way before he can afford all four years, but it is looking like he will at least be able to begin his college career in the fall.
While it would have been nice to see the Raiders contribute money to his college fund, the fact that they got involved is still a good thing for relations between the Raiders and the Oakland community. Now, along with donations from other local clothing shops including the very popular Oaklandish, Ahmed will be able to represent his town and his team when he hits the Yale campus this fall.