This eight-year-old homeless, refugee chess champion now has a place to live. And so much more.

Earlier this month, Upworthy shared the remarkable story of Tanitoluwa “Tani” Adewumi, the eight-year-old refugee who won the New York State Scholastic Championships tournament for kindergarten through third grade.

His family fled Nigeria in 2017 to avoid being killed by Boko Haram terrorists.


At the time he won the championship, he had only been playing chess for only about a year. During the same period, he and his family lived in a homeless shelter in Manhattan.

To improve their situation, his father worked hard as an Uber driver in a rented car and sold real estate through Brick & Mortar. His mother studied to be a home healthcare worker.

Tani’s victory gained national headlines and people from all over reached out to help the family.

A GoFundme campaign was started by Russell Makofsky, the head of the chess program at Tani’s school. The campaign has since raised over $240,000.

via GoFundMe

Now, thanks to an anonymous benefactor, the Adewumi family has a modest two-bedroom apartment near Tani’s school. Plus, someone donated a car to his father so he can take more home from his Uber driving and his mother has a job offer to be a healthcare aide at a hospital.

Three film companies have approached the family about making a movie based on their lives.

“I think I am still dreaming,” Kayode Adewumi, Tani’s dad told The New York Times. “I hope I don’t wake up.”

Although the family has received a massive windfall, they’ve decided to pay it forward. After tithing 10% to the church that gave them shelter while they were experiencing homlessness, the family are using the rest of the money to establish the Tanitoluwa Adewumi Foundation.

The foundation aims to help African immigrants struggling in the United States. “Anybody who is coming from Africa who is in the position we were in, we will help them,” Kayode told The New York Times. “God has already blessed me,” he continued. “I want to release my blessing to others.

via GoFundMe

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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