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Mendon High’s OlaRose Ndubuisi Wins “Prudential Emerging Visionaries” Award

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Mendon High School student OlaRose Ndubuisi won a Prudential Emerging Visionaries award for founding the Finding Scoliosis Kindly project, an initiative she created to compassionately increase the global awareness, support, management and treatment of scoliosis in young people.

Ndubuisi was one of 25 winners selected from over 700 entrants in the competition which honors exceptional students who have created innovative, bold solutions to financial and societal challenges in their communities. She will receive a $5,000 award to help take her innovation to the next level and has been invited to Prudential's headquarters from April 20-23, 2024, for the award ceremony and a three-day summit where she will be coached by Prudential employees and have the chance to meet other young leaders.

Ndubuisi 's passion for her project came from her own personal journey with scoliosis. Diagnosed as a ninth grader, she utilized poetry and writing as an outlet for the pain and negative emotions she experienced. “No one with scoliosis is alone,” said Ndubuisi. “Although 2-3% of children have Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis in the U.S., that percentage consists of millions of kids,” she said.

Through her Finding Scoliosis Kindly project, Ndubuisi provides young people with resources to support their journey with scoliosis and fundraises to support free scoliosis screenings in underserved communities in the U.S. and Nigeria. Ndubuisi started a t-shirt fundraiser, in which 100% of the proceeds support free scoliosis screening in underserved communities in the USA and Nigeria through the Mezu International Foundation (MIF).

To help manage the emotional and physical pain of scoliosis, she encourages self-expression through positive outlets, such as writing, art, and music. Ndubuisi posts her art, music, and poetry on social media to share her experiences with others and to demonstrate how one can positively channel their emotions. “I want to give other kids the opportunity to repurpose their pain into positive power, in order to manage the emotional effects of scoliosis in a healthy way,” said Ndubuisi.

Persevering through pain is something Ndubuisi has done her entire life. While recovering from a life-changing surgery that ultimately left her in more pain, Ndubuisi traveled to Nigeria with MIF in July 2023 for a medical mission trip. While there, she held an educational seminar on scoliosis, screened children for scoliosis using a scoliometer and the Adams Forward Bend Test, and encouraged families to get officially checked by a doctor.

Through her work, Ndubuisi has educated more than 300 children about scoliosis.