02/28/2014 04:47AM ● Published by Style
Photo by Dante Fontana, © Style Media Group.
Olu Shaola spent his childhood in Nigeria being shuffled between the houses of various relatives.
His parents had seven children and lived in a one-room house, and even from a young age, Shaola was aware that an education would be his only passport to a better life. “With education, you can survive,” he explains. “It was do or die for me.” Although he was often unable to pay the fees to attend the local school, he borrowed his friends’ books and taught himself as best he could. In 1974, his hard work paid off—he obtained a student visa to attend college in the U.S. It wasn’t always easy working and going to school full-time, but Shaola fulfilled his lifelong education goals, graduating with a B.S. in computer engineering from Sacramento State University.
Shaola has gone on to a successful, three-decades-long career with Hewlett Packard, but he hasn’t forgotten the lessons of his youth. He aspires to bring the community spirit of Nigeria here and is passionate about helping others, particularly the elderly. Each week, Shaola volunteers his time delivering meals to area seniors through the Meals on Wheels program at Seniors First of Placer County (seniorsfirst.org), and recently he became a recipient of the Sylvia Besana Community Volunteer Award. “In the world it’s about give and take,” Shaola says. “You’re getting a reward yourself, each time you give a reward to someone else.”
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