The homeless 8-year-old chess whiz kid that made headlines along with his adoring family have since upgraded their lifestyles in a big way.
Tani now has a six-figure bank account, scholarship offers from three private schools and even an invitation to meet President Bill Clinton.
“I think I am still dreaming,” said Kayode Adewumi, Tani’s dad. “I hope I don’t wake up.”
Tani, a Nigerian refugee who had only learned chess a year ago, had defeated kids from elite private schools to win the New York state chess championship for his age group.
He carried a trophy almost as big as him back to the homeless shelter.
But after Tani’s journey went viral and a GoFundMe drive raised over $200,000 for Tani, his parents and his brother — the family’s life dramatically took a turn for the best.
Readers of the The New York Time article that put Tani on the map offered the family housing, while immigration lawyers offered pro bono assistance to the Adewumis who are attempting seeking asylum in the country legally.
Three film companies are also wanting to make movies about Tani.
Of the many offers, the family settled on a more practical offer — an anonymous donor paid a year’s rent in advance on a two-bedroom apartment near Tani’s current school.
The spot is modest but clean as well as freshly painted.
A donor had offered furniture, sheets and towels while someone else was sending 100 chess books.
But when it comes to the generous $200,000 sum from GoFundMe, the Adewumis have decided they will not use it on themselves.
While they will take out 10 percent to tithe and donate it to the church — which helped them when they were homeless – the rest will be given through a new Tanitoluwa Adewumi Foundation to help African immigrants who struggle in the United States — just like the Adewumis.
“Anybody who is coming from Africa who is in the position we were in, we will help them,” Mr. Adewumi said.
When asked how they could turn down such an enormous sum, Mr. Adewumi explained how he is “a hardworking guy.”
He has two jobs, driving for Uber with a rented car and selling real estate through Brick & Mortar.
He has since been offered a free car so that he can keep more of the money he makes driving while Tani’s mom was just offered a job as a health care aide at a hospital.
When asked if Tani was O.K. with watching $200,000 gone — he just shrugged.
“I want to help other kids,” he said. “I don’t mind.”
While the family was offered full scholarships at top private schools, Tani and his parents decided he would be loyal and stick with the public elementary school, P.S. 116 — the place that first introduced him to chess and waived his fees for the chess club.
“This school showed confidence in Tanitoluwa,” Oluwatoyin Adewumi, his mom, shared with Jane Hsu, P.S. 116 principal. “So we return the confidence.”
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