Emmanuel Omokaro was born in Benin City, Nigeria and moved to Danbury, Connecticut at the age of eight. He graduated from the University of Connecticut (UConn) with a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Sports Management. At UConn, Emmanuel developed a passion for giving back to the community. As a member of the football team at UConn he would spend his off days volunteering in East Hartford reading to students. He also volunteered with a non-profit organization called Husky Sports. He later joined the organization as staff member and became the Director for the Teen’s Program and a Graduate Assistant.
Emmanuel currently works for the corporate social responsibility department at ESPN as the Corporate Citizenship Coordinator. Emmanuel develops and manages local and national volunteer programs for ESPN employees. Emmanuel manages over 500 volunteer events for ESPN. Emmanuel has been with ESPN since 2013.
Outside of work, Emmanuel continues to give back to the community. He received the 2019 ESPN Volunteer of the Year for all his philanthropic work. Emmanuel helped raise over $40,000 to build a school in Senegal with the buildOn organization and oversaw construction with his fellow Team Up members. He also traveled to Chad with Water4Chad to build water pumps so the local community could receive clean water. In Danbury, Connecticut, he founded The Omokaro Family Scholarship fund in 2018 which annually awards scholarships to three college bound students, who are first or second generation college students for the Hord Foundation. While raising money to build a school in Senegal, he had an idea to build an outdoor basketball court. Emmanuel spearheaded the creation of a new outdoor basketball court in memory of his friend Joseph Neumuller who passed away at Saint Gregory the Great School. In 2019, Emmanuel traveled to Guatemala with buildOn again where he helped raise $47,000 to build a school. After returning from the trip to Guatemala, Emmanuel knew he had to start this non-profit to help continue to better the world with the help from the community.
Kamal Mohamed grew up in South Florida, where he graduated from Florida International University (FIU) with a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations & Political Science and a certificate in Middle Eastern Studies. Kamal developed his passion in international development when he worked at refugee camps in South Lebanon. There, he engaged in teaching English and other electives alongside curriculum implementation. He was able to interact with refugees and live in the surroundings allowing him to attain a hands-on experience. From there on, he decided to take his passion to the next level at New York University (NYU), where he obtained a Master’s degree in International Relations with a specialization in International Development. Kamal also interned at the International Rescue Committee, working in logistics, and at Amnesty International, in administration and management.
Since then, Kamal has worked with other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) along the way specializing in grassroots fundraising. Kamal was engaged in previous projects with other Team Up members in fundraising and participating in the foundational construction of two primary schools in Senegal and Guatemala with buildOn.
In addition, he fundraised and assisted in establishing Water4Chad’s first major project as an NGO. After completing several projects together and sharing a similar vision for future collaborative work, the idea for Team Up emerged. Kamal brings his experience from previous NGO involvement to the Team Up platform that aims at connecting people from different communities to make a difference in the world. In addition to his experience, Kamal is an ASL interpreter in the telecommunications industry. He also partakes in empowering deaf minority communities and cherishes his Arab-Hispanic heritage. Kamal is also passionate about sports, particularly basketball and American football.
Of Indian origin, Adnan Samma spent his childhood in Burundi, Rwanda, and the Congo. Adnan is fluent in English, French, Hindi-Urdu and is conversationally proficient in Arabic, Spanish, Gujarati, and Lingala. He is currently learning German. Adnan moved to the United States to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Florida International University (FIU). While at FIU, he was awarded the Presidential Award in 2015. The FIU Presidential Award recognizes one “Worlds Ahead” student per year who has significantly impacted the community above and beyond.
After graduation, Adnan started to work in e-commerce in London before moving to Dubai where he managed a client portfolio that stretched throughout the Middle-East and North Africa. He later moved to Spain to work as a business analyst. Adnan has recently moved to Switzerland where he currently resides.
Throughout his professional career, Adnan held on to the desire to rekindle the spirit of rebuilding communities and continue maintaining a wide range of social impact projects in underdeveloped communities. His experience began at the age of 16 working as a translator and student assistant for Operation Smile in Kinshasa, Congo, a medical service non-governmental organization (NGO) alleviating cleft lip and palate conditions. Later, Adnan took on the role of caseworker assistant for the International Rescue Committee in the U.S. He proceeded to work in Burkina Faso with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for a WASH (Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene) internship where his responsibilities focused on business analysis and process management.
Alongside his fellow board members of Team Up, Adnan also engaged in managing crowdfunding campaigns to build two primary schools in Senegal and Guatemala with buildOn. Adnan traveled to both Senegal and Guatemala to assist in the physical tasks of building the foundation of the primary schools.
In the fall of 2018, Adnan spearheaded a grassroots effort crowdfunding $15,000 to build 10 portable water pumps in N’Djamena, Chad. Adnan helped establish Water4Chad, an NGO focused on providing access to potable water in Chad. Adnan remains as an advisor in the board as the organization foresees evolving the projects to provide access to potable areas in dry and impoverished communities outside the capital of N’Djamena, Chad.
With his ability to speak multiple languages Adnan volunteered with Doctors of the World as an interpreter in early 2019 at a refugee camp in Greece. Outside of volunteering and giving back to the community. Adnan enjoys traveling, learning languages, cultures & demographics.
Born and raised in Jordan and of Palestinian origin, Dima Kasaji moved to the United States with her family at the age of 10. Ever since she was a child, Dima has always been interested in making the world a better place, in any form or shape. Seeing first hand how being provided with the right opportunities and resources can improve one’s life, over the years, she has developed a deep passion for charitable work and a strong sense of devotion for the nonprofit sector.
Dima has worked on a couple of large scale charitable projects through buildOn; a nonprofit organization which focuses on breaking the cycle of illiteracy across the globe; where she helped raise over $85,000. In 2018 and 2019, she helped build a primary school in Senegal and Guatemala respectively. Working on these projects proved to Dima how even a small group of people can work hand in hand to make an everlasting positive impact on people’s lives.
Dima earned her B.A in Accounting from Western Connecticut State University and her MBA degree with a concentration in Finance from the University of Bridgeport. She is also a Certified Public Accountant in the state of New York. Dima is currently a Director at a leading private equity fund administrator.
Ramonita Garcia is a Hartford native with a commitment to family engagement in education. She has been serving students and families in the Hartford area since graduating from the University of Connecticut in 2013 with a Bachelors in Agricultural Resource Economics. Her work in education includes a short tenure at Jumoke Academy a charter School in Hartford as an Academic Assistant. She later joined the Hartford Public Schools District where she served as a College and Career Specialist, Projects and Programs Coordinator, Family and Community Support Service Provider, and Student Engagement Specialist at a K-8 community school. While serving in these roles Ramonita was able to create and implement systems that support family friendly schools and family engagement. In late 2019, Ramonita joined the Capital Region Education Council (CREC) as the Family and Community Engagement Specialist at Ana Grace Academy of the Arts Elementary School.
Ramonita has a strong connection to the Hartford community through her involvement in the Julio Lozada Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides scholarships to high school seniors in the Greater Hartford area. She is passionate about underrepresented populations having access to quality education, she has participated in and led efforts to build schools in underdeveloped countries through an Non-Governmental Organization(NGO) called buildOn. Ramonita is fluent in Spanish. She is also an active member of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. where she is a leader in her chapter’s philanthropic efforts with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.