Hope Agbolosoo: The Gift Of Hope
A 21-year-old immigrant from Ghana has created an environment that is making a global difference.
Sometimes, there are physical characteristics of people that say so much about them before you even know them — a certain stature, twinkling eyes, an easy smile or a quick laugh. Or sometimes it’s just the name alone.
Hope Agbolosoo is just such a person. The 21-year-old immigrated to Canada from Ghana 10 years ago. And today, this inspirational person runs Hope Fitness, teaching kids how to be grateful, achieve their potential, stay positive and learn certain life skills, as well as a little hoops — a steady focus on basketball skills — using this common interest in the sport as a guidepost to the bigger picture.
“My grandfather named me after him to give other people hope,” says Agbolosoo in a recent interview with City Life. “My father had already left for Canada, where he worked two jobs and went to school full time, and after 10 years, he brought the family here.”
As an 11-year-old landing in a foreign country, Agbolosoo had both a difficult transition and some interesting observations about this new place called Canada. “I did not want to be here; it was snowy and cold, and I hated it,” he recalls. “But then I discovered Wi-Fi and a refrigerator and fast Force of Inspiration food and food delivery — luxuries whenever you wanted them. But in Ghana, we were very resourceful and did everything for ourselves,” he says. “I noticed Canadian kids were having their parents tie their shoes for them and were completely dependent upon them for everything. There seemed to be a lot of unnecessary drama.”
You have to give people the opportunity to put them in the position to improve themselves. My services provided opportunity to see how powerful they can become and to push them past what they think they can be.
Fairly mature observations from someone so young. In Grade 12, he broke his leg, forcing Agbolosoo to slow down and take stock of his life’s plans. His recovery included many workouts, and a parent observing him asked if he could train their child, and others joined in via social media. Soon, he had eight kids he was training, and the idea for Hope Fitness was born.
“This whole time I was trying to inspire people using sports, fitness and basketball as the service to motivate others,” he says. “You have to give people the opportunity to put them in the position to improve themselves. My services provided opportunity to see how powerful they can become and to push them past what they think they can be.”
Today, Hope Fitness operates in Georgetown, Milton and Mississauga, Ont., for kids aged five to 18-plus years. Starting with just four kids, the business grew to where, before the pandemic, Agbolosoo had eight difference classes with 20 kids each taking his eight-week programs. And every single kid who started with him is still enrolled. He is considering a switch to virtual classes, where Agbolosoo’s energy, passion and enthusiasm will shine through to keep motivating his kids.
“To inspire as many people as possible and to teach kids to be positive and more than capable of what they can do right now,” says Agbolosoo in speaking about his program goals. “It’s important to use physical and mental strengths, and I push them to show growth. And they are always very happy after my classes.”
Never forgetting his roots, Agbolosoo is also raising funds to build basketball courts back in Ghana, explaining that hard courts replacing the current dirt courts will allow kids to play much longer and much harder. It’s a simple but impactful action that will mean so much back home, continuing his message to kids of all ages, especially during this pandemic.
“Don’t let this hit the pause button on your dreams — keep moving forward,” he says. “When I was little, I used to look up to people. If little Hope was looking up at me right now, he’d say, ‘That’s the type of person I want to be when I’m grown up.’ I’m never satisfied and I keep driving.”
Hope Agbolosoo is an inspirational force of nature, giving kids in Canada and Africa the promise that life can be better and the future a little brighter — just like his name implies.