Keeping dreams alive

Ify Nonyelu dreamed of being a professional basketball player. His talent, self-discipline and perseverance meant his dream could come true.

Ify works hard at everything he does. He began cutting grass at 12 so he wouldn’t have to ask his parents for money. At 15 he had a job, worked out every day, played on the Franklin High School basketball team and kept his grades up. At 17, with graduation on the horizon, Ify fell asleep one early morning while driving. He suffered a C4-C5 spinal cord injury, was paralyzed from the neck down, and lost his dream of playing professional sports.

Spinal cord injuries don’t change who you are, they change what you can physically do. Ify is a perfect example of that. He still has a winning attitude and a smile that lights up the room. His dreams have changed. He wants to become a software engineer and get back to supporting his family. With a scholarship from Vocational Rehabilitation, Ify completed his first year of college with a 3.2 GPA. When it was time to go back for his second year, Ify was told that his injury was too severe to be employed and his education would no longer be funded. At Shoot for the Future, we disagree.

Shoot for the Future Scholarship Fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee was created to keep dreams alive.