Last Friday, Oprah Winfrey visited West Side High School and saw what their "great principal" was doing and decided to gift them "half a million dollars."
While we are no strangers to Oprah's acts of kindness, yet every time she does something selfless it somehow leaves us in awe of her. This time the philanthropist decided to surprise a bunch of high schoolers in a New Jersey-based school with a pizza party, reported CNN. Apart from the surprise party last Friday the 65-year-old 'Queen of All Media' also made a donation of $500,000 to an after-school program.
In an Instagram video posted by Akbar Cook, we see Oprah saying, "That's a half a million dollars to encourage you to keep doing what you're doing because what you're doing is moving in the right direction." She added: "I saw what your great principal was doing, and I thought, what can I do?" Cook also posted several other pictures and captioned it: Blessed. @[email protected] gave us $500,000 dollars for Lights On. #westside.
Winfrey also uploaded a video on Facebook in which she announces her charitable donation to West Side High School. It was captioned: When I saw what Principal Akbar Cook was doing for his students at West Side High School in Newark, NJ, I had to come see what it was all about and share some delicious O, That's Good pizza. Music, games, sports and pizza...great night! #LightsOn #othatsgoodpizzaparty.
The happiness her gift brought to the people was very evident as they were seen screaming with joy. Winfrey's decision to fund and support Principal Cook's Lights On Program was much appreciated by all. This program was created to oversee the safety of kids and ensure that they are not out late at night. WPVI reported, Program Lights On keeps these kids off the streets by providing them a place to hang out, play pool, video games, basketball, and several other sports until 11 p.m. on Friday nights.
Cook introduced this initiative to keep kids safe in light of the increasing gun violence incidents. The principal is of the view that since this project has started he hasn't lost any more kids. "I haven't lost any more kids to gun violence since the start of the school year," Principal Cook said. As per reports, the program will be running three nights each week, this summer.
This is not the first time that Principal Cook has been on the news for his initiatives that were solely based on the well-being of his students. Last year, Principal Cook installed a laundromat in the school premises for students who were often bullied for not having any clean clothes to wear. Due to such humiliating reactions, some of the students started skipping classes. This is when Akbar Cook decided to do something about it.
In his interview with CNN, he shared an incident where a girl resisted the school security officer because he tried to check the contents of her bag. "The police later told me she had dirty clothes in her bag because she was homeless and didn't want anyone to know," he explained. "She was fighting for her pride." He also informs the news outlets about several other students at his school who have been facing the same just because they didn't have any clean clothes to wear for quite some time now.
He made all the arrangements over the break to set a laundromat for free specifically for children who could not afford to clean their clothes. CNN affiliate WCBS reports a student named Nasirr Cameron's experience. "I've seen a few kids in the back of the class talk about one of the people in front of the class and how they smelled and how their clothes looked dirty," she said. When Cook got a whiff of this news he found that 85% of the absenteeism was due to this very reason.
"These are kids, good kids who want to learn, that are missing three to five days a month because they were being bullied because they were dirty," Cook told CNN. "I even changed the school uniform to darker colors so they could go more days without cleaning them, but even with that, students were struggling to have them look clean enough to attend." When this didn't improve the rate of attendance Cook decided to apply for a grant who provided him $20,000 which he used to modify the school's old football locker room into a laundromat which could be used by these students.