Since 1969, the Niagara University Opportunity Program has made the power of a Niagara University education possible for students who have the potential for and interest in furthering their education, but are not admissible under NU’s standard admissions criteria. During the holiday season, the annual NUOP Christmas Benefit Concert enables NUOP students to take on leadership opportunities to give back and help others less fortunate, inspired by the university’s Vincentian mission.
The concert celebrates the season while raising critical funds that support NUOP initiatives. Proceeds from the concert also go toward Community Missions, a service agency providing residential and support services to persons and families in need, and to help Niagara students who aren’t eligible for NUOP, but still need assistance in pursuing a higher education. This year, a portion of the proceeds will also support freshman Yousif Kowa, a NUOP student whose father recently passed away from pancreatic cancer. As the oldest male in a Muslim family, Kowa will now take on additional responsibility for his family, which includes his mother and three siblings.
“My time being a part of the NUOP family has been amazing,” Kowa said. “They gave me the opportunity to further my education and really helped guide me toward the right direction throughout the school year, and still continue to do so. My fellow NUOP classmates and the NUOP staff has been really supportive and a great emotional help in helping me cope with recent events. I am truly blessed to be a part of NUOP, and excited to see what the future holds.”
In observance of the program’s milestone anniversary, concert organizers have elevated the event to include a performance by the Walls Group, a Grammy and Stellar Award-nominated contemporary gospel quartet from Houston, Texas.
The concert, which will be held on Thursday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. at Zion Dominion Church of God, 895 N. Forest Rd. in Williamsville, N.Y., will also feature performances by former NUOP director Connie Mathews and local gospel music artists Ja’Kai Calhoun, Kimera Lattimore, and Lydia Marie.
Tickets range from $25-$55.
Several university offices have collaborated with NUOP to sponsor the concert, including the offices of Multicultural Affairs, Campus Activities, Residence Life, Student Affairs, and Institutional Advancement; NU IMPACT; the Brennan Center; the Kiernan Center; the Castellani Art Museum; the Black Student Union; and NU Student Government Association. Staff from Niagara’s Admissions Office will be on hand to answer questions about the university’s programs, as well.
To learn more, please visit https://www.niagara.edu/nuop-benefit-concert/.