LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Usila Koech is all about lifting up others, creating joy by helping the community, and paying it forward. Her message of kindness comes all the way from Kenya.
“I had to fetch water from the river, we had no running water. No electricity. Nothing like that. But there was so much love in our home,” she said.
A love that inspired her and pushed her to pursue her dream of coming to the United States eventually graduating from UNLV.
“My village, my community came together to make sure that I finished high school,” Koech said. “I stand here today, and I am getting emotional, I stand her today because of the generosity of a lot of people.”
Koech has made it her life’s work to pay it forward.”I was given a chance,” she said.
A chance she now offers to other young women.
“For me, I wanted to go back and look at girls like myself and say you can have your dreams and your ambitions and they’re valid.”
She recently created the Give me a Chance Foundation to inspire others and help them make their dreams come true.
“We have educated a few girls but we’re in the process of really just building it and making sure that I can go back home and help girls that come from really poor backgrounds,” Koech said.
But it doesn’t stop there. As Koech knows being an immigrant in a new country can be challenging on so many levels that’s why she helped create the African diaspora of Las Vegas.
“When I went to college there were only four of us here. Now there’s a whole African community,” she said. “We have people connecting, we have people that have businesses that are able to connect culturally and also showcase who we are as a people to the Las Vegas community that we call home.”
And it’s homes – the so-called American dream of homeownership – that pushes Koech in her day job as a senior loan officer to work tirelessly to help others.
“Having a home brings stability to the family.”
This is why she also spends time feeding the homeless and opening her home to those in need.
“My joy comes with people, by helping people,” she said.
A wife, mother of two teenage boys, career woman, and philanthropist.
“There’s sometimes, you don’t have enough hours. I wish there were 28 hours in a day.”
Here, 9,000 miles away from her birthplace. She’s made a home in Southern Nevada sharing kindness with everyone she meets.
“There’s a lot of good people in Vegas.”