Since 1969, the Niagara University Opportunity Program has made a Niagara University education possible for students who are not admissible under NU’s standard admissions criteria. During the holiday season, an annual Christmas concert enables Opportunity Program students to take on leadership roles to help others less fortunate, inspired by the university’s Vincentian mission.

The concert celebrates the season while raising critical funds that support  Opportunity Program 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 the Opportunity Program, 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.”

The concert will include a performance by the Walls Group, a Grammy and Stellar Award-nominated contemporary gospel quartet from Houston. It will also feature performances by former NUOP director Connie Mathews and local gospel music artists Ja’Kai Calhoun, Kimera Lattimore, and Lydia Marie.

The concert, which will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Zion Dominion Church of God, 895 N. Forest Road in Williamsville. Tickets range from $25-$55. 

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