DISTINGUISHED DAVIDSONIANS

Andrew Lovedale and the History of Access 2 Success

by | Sep 18, 2018 | Bottom Right Red Box, News

Andrew Lovedale is the President and Founder of Access to Success (A2S), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to providing sustainable programs that generate positive change for Nigerian children and their communities. A native of Benin City, Nigeria, Andrew describes himself as being lifted “from grass to grace.” From a family of nine children, his parents placed heavy value on education.  Andrew’s father died when he was 14, and this brought many changes to their family life. HIs brother introduced him to basketball when he visited him in London, where he obtained his A levels at Loretto College in England.

Andrew then earned a scholarship to play Division 1 basketball at Davidson College. During Andrew’s playing time at Davidson, his team, with teammate Stephen Curry, advanced to the Elite 8 round in the 2008 NCAA tournament.

Because Andrew noticed the amount of gear the team received and how much was discarded, he began “Kicks from ‘Cats,” a promotion at a college basketball game that collected shoes to send to Andrew’s community in Nigeria. This was the start of what has now become Access to Success. That first year he delivered 10,500 pairs of shoes to Benin City, Nigeria.

In 2010, A2S became a nonprofit and began to research a more holistic approach to providing education and opportunity in the Benin City community. More than shoes, Andrew wished to provide the kind of consistency that had played a vital role in his own life. In 2011, A2S made its inaugural mission trip, based around a free, annual basketball camp. They worked strategically with community leaders and children to empower them with the necessary tools to create change.

In 2012, A2S began supporting an informal after-school program in partnership with the Gospel Ministries Church. They developed infrastructure and awarded its first five scholarships. That same year, A2S hired its first full-time Nigerian staff member and added more formal programs, such as Vacation Bible School and health clinics. The basketball camps continued to grow.

In 2013, they launched the formal A2S After School Academy, with 50 students, a daily meal program, ten more Nigerian scholarships, and the first scholarship to study in the United States. The board focused on future growth by investing in land and added empowerment lessons to the basketball camps.

The Academy more than doubled its size with 130 students, in 2014, and they constructed a library and computer center. By this point, A2S had served over 1000 youth through its annual programs and distributed more than $25,000 worth of educational, athletic, and health supplies. 2014 also saw the first Soulful Supper, a special fundraising event and community celebration of A2S.

The number of young people whose lives have changed for the better because of A2S has continued to expand, due to increased Nigerian staff and programming. By 2017, over 230 students attended the After-School Academy and received a daily meal. Today, nine full-time and ten part-time Nigerian staff work at the Academy, and the A2S Entrepreneur Incubator program is another way that Nigerian people can find hope and success.

Currently, A2S supports those who have fled Boko Haram and are living at the local Internally Displaced Persons camp. A2S provides them with food one week per month. They are working on finalizing the purchase of land and beginning construction of their own building to house all their programs and to provide space for community events.

Andrew Lovedale has lived and realized his vision for A2S that each individual in Nigeria finds a dignified path to a successful life and is empowered to live out God’s plan for a future filled with hope. Our Davidson community is enriched by his presence among us. Basketball brought him here, and we hope that he, his family, and his good work will continue to find a supportive home in Davidson.

Marguerite Williams

Marguerite (Margo) Williams is a novelist ("Madame President"), editor, and business owner of A Way With Words. She has lived in Davidson since 1977. Visit her at her website.

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