Play it Forward: MU's Ike Eke works on nonprofit to send Nigerian kids to school

Play it Forward: MU’s Ike Eke works on nonprofit to send Nigerian kids to school

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Marquette tips off their quarterfinal game Thursday night, but they've already started some very important work in March.

In the middle of March Madness, some of the Marquette Golden Eagles are taking a timeout to read to some of their youngest fans.

SHARP Literacy's Reading with the Golden Eagles program is in its sixth season. 

"I love working with kids," said Marquette sophomore Ike Eke. "You can feel the energy as soon as you see the kids. They give you a big smile and a hug."

Ike knows the importance of education. 

Growing up in Nigeria, he didn't start speaking English until he was 13 years old and planning to move to the U.S. to play basketball. Now he's "playing it forward."

"I wanted to be able to do as much as I can to help these kids, give back to them," he said. 

"And it gives kids the desire to be better and do better and know that you can overcome obstacles if you really put your mind to it," said Lynda Kohler, president and CEO of SHARP Literacy. 

Ike's basketball career came to an early end with two serous back injuries. His teammates helped him through it. 

While his Marquette family prepares for the NCAA tournament on the court, Ike is building one. 

"I used to practice at this basketball court. Every year when I go home, I see the court get worse and worse."

So the 21-year-old man saved up money for three years to rebuild in his hometown. Now he's working on starting a nonprofit to help send Nigerian kids to school.

"I always want to give back and do something, because every time I do something good I get joy from it," he said. 

So do the kids in Mr. Collins' third grade class. 

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