After seeing Nwadike on social media offering free hugs to protesters and policemen alike at the violent rally in Charlotte, N.C., BISW felt compelled to have him visit our school community. Nwadike’s story is a powerful one: he overcame homelessness by getting involved in extracurricular activities at school and eventually landed a college scholarship for track. In 2014, he felt empowered to run in the Boston Marathon the year after the bombing. Even though he did not qualify for the race, Nwadike spent the day offering free hugs at the finish line. He is now a motivational speaker, influential peace activist, and founder of “The Free Hugs Project.”
Nwadike gave a keynote address in the morning, engaged in classroom discussions about compassion and leadership, and collaborated with students on community-wide projects… he even gave out a couple of free hugs, too.Faculty members felt like Nwadike’s approach to his movement resembles the way the students at BISW already treat one another; for this reason, his positive messages would clearly resonate and create even more opportunities for growth within students. “We are bringing Ken to BISW to inspire students to believe they, too, can do anything if they put it into action and work hard,” said Joel Gunzburg, Director of Student Support. “Respect and care for each other is a common theme here and we believe that our students are living out Ken’s dream.”
Nwadike’s messages are simple: be kind to others; never give up; and spread goodwill. Although simple in concept, these morals can sometimes be hard for young students to fully grasp, especially at a time when they are bombarded with news of so much violence and hatred. To see someone like Nwadike, who is actively challenging this adversity with his “Free Hugs Project,” will be an incredibly meaningful experience.
Students at BISW prepared for his visit, as well. They have studied his work in classes and were prepared to ask Nwadike questions about his journey. Students collaborated with Nwadike on their annual philanthropic projects and shared their own experiences coming up with creative projects that impact society at the school, local, national, and international level.
Ken Nwadike, Jr. is not just a peace activist, he is also the change we need in this world. BISW enjoyed welcoming him to their Washington, D.C., campus.
About The Free Hugs Project
Continuing the nonviolent movement of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the mission of the Free Hugs Project is to spread love, inspire change and raise awareness of social issues. His 'Free Hugs' videos have reached hundreds of millions of views on Facebook and YouTube. As a former homeless student athlete, Nwadike overcame many challenges to now own Superhero Events – an event production company that raises funds and awareness for homeless teens. For more information about the Free Hugs Campaign and Ken Nwadike, Jr., visit www.freehugsproject.com.
Washington, D.C. – On a day when our country will be deeply divided over a hotly contested presidential debate, and at a time fraught with violence and insecurity, one man, together with one school, will be dancing to the beat of a different drum. Ken Nwadike, Jr., also known as the “Free Hugs Guy” visited the British International School of Washington (BISW) Tuesday, November 8, to inspire the school’s diverse group of students with messages of unity, love, courage, and hope for a better, more peaceful world. He gave a keynote address in the morning, engaged in classroom discussions about compassion and leadership, and collaborated with students on community-wide projects… he even gave out a couple of free hugs, too.