*Dr. Irene Okoronkwo-Obika is a children’s advocate and mental health professional. She is well aware of what it feels like to be a child, mistreated, taunted, and threatened by a peer. She is also aware that instances of childhood bullying often go unreported and victims are sometimes left feeling powerless.
“I was that child,” says Dr. Irene. “My family is originally from Nigeria, and I was ‘picked on’ all the time because I was different. But we are all unique. Everyone is different.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has found that up to 90% of school children, grades 4 through 8, report being victims of bullying, an astounding 3.2 million students bullied each year. These numbers have remained consistent for decades. However, it has only been since 2014 that the CDC and Department of Education released the first federal uniform definition of bullying. Now defining bullying as unwanted aggressive behavior; observed or perceived power imbalance; and repetition of behaviors or high likelihood of repetition, the CDC reports in their data for 2015 that bullying can negatively affect health, impact mental health and lead to suicide-related behavior.
Having experienced bullying firsthand and knowing its effects on confidence and self-esteem, Dr. Irene Okoronkwo-Obika decided to create books that can give all children encouragement and problem-solving tools, help restore confidence and give them direction. Chisom The Champ: Meets the World is a 34-page picture book, illustrated by M. Ridho Mentarie and released by the Melanin Origins imprint.
Now available on Amazon.com, this story follows Chisom, a young but proud Nigerian boy, who repeatedly gets bullied for his cultural identity in a Western Society. The story of Chisom and its message is universal, empowering through self-love, which is key to overcoming bullying, as well as many other obstacles they may encounter in life. Dr. Irene sincerely hopes all children will benefit from this powerful message.
“I know what it feels like, and I always knew the dangerous effects bullying has on self-pride. I wanted children to know that whatever it is that makes them different also makes them special. It is their right and purpose to be proud of who they are and where they are from.
It is my hope to create books and educational tools for children across the world,” says Dr. Irene, “because childhood bullying is a world-wide problem. But even one child bullied… is still one too many.”
Chisom The Champ: Meets the World
by Dr. Irene Okoronkwo-Obika
Publisher: Melanin Origins
About the Author
Born in Austin, Texas, Dr. Irene Okoronkwo-Obika is owner and founder of Chisom The Champ LLC. This children’s edutainment network provides healthy, informative, and entertaining literature and educational tools, designed to help children embrace their cultural identity and individuality. Once subjected to childhood bullying, Dr. Okoronkwo-Obika has built a platform addressing bullying and its impact on childhood mental health. Her vision, for Chisom The Champ LLC is to become a world-wide brand synonymous with empowering youth with dignity and self-love. The introductory book project, Chisom The Champ: Meets the World, depicts how a young, proud Nigerian boy begins to question his identity when he encounters the school bully. Loving advice from his parents helps Chisom regain his confidence and face his tormentor.
In December of 2015, Dr. Irene Okoronkwo-Obika earned her doctoral degree in Nursing Practice with a special concentration in psychiatric mental health from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is dual board certified as a Family and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. She has worked for underserved communities at community mental health centers throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Having recently completed specialized research on the recovery process of inmates dealing with mental illness, she is currently employed in correctional medicine as a Nurse Practitioner. She also currently serves as Senior Director of Emmanuel’s Village Builders, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, providing scholarship funds for graduating high school seniors, accepted to 4 year colleges/universities. Irene and her husband, Ugo, are now parents to a beautiful 7 month old son, Chisom, the inspiration for the brand. They reside in Dallas, TX. Dr. Okoronkwo-Obika credits her family and Christian faith for her professional success.
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