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IFPTE Celebrates Black History Month

Muraina "Morris" Akinfolarin — IFPTE Local 400

Muraina “Morris” Akinfolarin has not only been an inspiration to his children, but also to those who meet him serving as a catalyst for the progression of not only the low income/immigrant community but also the rising youth in the city. Working as a Full-time Resident Engineer for the State of Rhode Island, and raising three boys with his wife, he still found the time for is passion to serve the “community” of Rhode Island.

I have watched him tirelessly dedicate his time and energy to the advancement of the community. As a founder of Oasis International in 1992 over the past 25 years volunteering his time as Executive Director he has stayed true to the Oasis International mission, “promote cultural, health wellness and to facilitate community economic empowerment with emphasis on youth leadership development”.

During this time he has also served on a wide variety of non- profit organizations as president of the Majestic Ekimogon Association USA, President of the Nigeria National Organization USA. He also served in the member certification review committee of small businesses that are owned and controlled by minorities, women or disadvantaged individuals to participate in state and federal programs administered by the state of Rhode Island. He also served as a supervisory committee member of the Community Development Federal Credit Union, and President of the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) of Time2 Academy. Currently he is President of Ondo Elite Club USA and founder of the Ondo Elite Club USA. He also serves as the Social and Publicity Secretary for the African Community Leadership Forum, on the board of directors of Oasis International, board of directors of ProvCity Group and was recently appointed to the Mayor Muslim-America Advisory Board. All while graduating with his MPA in 2011 at Roger Williams University. Also, Akinfolarin is a graduate of Leadership Rhode Island Upsilon class of 2000 and received the Rhode Island Foundation Fellow 5 Award in 2004. That has helped him in completing self-designed programs for community growth. All the while I have never heard him complain of the non-stop work or claim any of the accomplishment as his own but instead as a group effort to success. When I hear people talk about my father they include nothing but accolades and respect for his work ethic, dependability, efficiency and the pride he takes in the work he does.

With all the work he does in the community I feel he is most passionate about/ invested in the work he does with the youth, “Oasis Youth are the Leaders of Tomorrow starting Today.” From the weekly Sunday meetings were he brings youth state wide as young as elementary to high school and at times college alum that swing by to give back. Sometimes he literally is picking them up, to give them a chance to interact with their peer from all over to learn/facilitate their own meetings. Where the tackle local and global current events, practice their elevator pitches/public speaking, help plan community events, and learn about the importance of developing good habits, such as maintaining good grades, timeliness, and saving amongst other things. But of all the things he’s worked on with the youth, weekend car washes, candy sales, tobacco and seatbelt safety videos for the state, painting murals and spoken word with local artist or their Six Flags trip at the end of the summer.

I feel the most impactful program he brought to the youth is the spring break week longs which first started small with local trips to the state house to meet government officials, RISD, Children’s Museum, and Mystic Aquarium. But after a Sunday meeting in 2005 the youth set their sights on the US Capitol Washington D.C. for spring of 2006 and through his efforts spearheading it and the help of other Oasis International volunteer they managed to provide the opportunity to 45 youth to go the nation’s Capital. Since then Oasis youth have made it to New York, Philadelphia and D.C. expanding the minds to the possibly of what they can achieve at such a young age. Which bring me back to the Oasis youth slogan “Oasis Youth are the Leaders of Tomorrow starting Today.” The community is made up of youth and eventually those youth will become adults in the community and I strongly believe that opportunities and values he provide/instilled in them while volunteering with Oasis International will only positively impact/connect the generations to come in this “community” called Rhode Island.

Furthermore through his work with Oasis International more direct accomplishments that I feel impact Rhode Island, has been his ability able to on a yearly basis host a health fair with the  Wellness Team, were not only were workshops held ranging from eating habits to proper exercise but also blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol were check for free. Plan and execute financial literacy workshops covering topics ranging from “Saving for the Rainy Day” to 401k and the mortgage market. Continue to bring a true representation and voice to many African countries and their culture with the African Bash, a field day filled with food, music, dancing and games for the whole family going 23 years strong. From the African Bash came African Gala Night every year, an event not only to acknowledge supporters of Oasis International, but people making a difference in the community and to raise money for and recognize the work done by Oasis Youth throughout the year.  You can Always donate to Oasis through State Employee Charitable Appeal Number 4983.