Change Makers highlights the people of Prince William who are making a difference in our community. This month, we feature Michael Otaigbe.
Michael Otaigbe is a born-and-raised storyteller, and he continues this tradition in his volunteer efforts in
Prince William. Through his stories and insightful commentary, both in-person and online, he brings entertainment to children and adults alike and enriches the Prince William community as a whole.
How long have you lived in the Prince William area, and what do you most like about living here?
I have enjoyed living in Prince William since 1990, and my three grown children attended its award-winning public school system. I appreciate the racial and ethnic diversity of its residents, the proactive nature of the local government and the various places of leisure and entertainment.
What are some of your favorite things to do in the area and why?
As a bookworm, I gravitate to places of learning. I love strolling on the Prince William campus of George Mason University or attending theatrical performances at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. On weekends, I love hanging out at the Barnes and Noble bookstore in Manassas. For coffee, entertainment and good conversation, I go to Jirani Coffee House in Manassas as well.
How have you been involved in the community?
I love using storytelling to entertain and inspire young children. The reading room at Rosa Parks Elementary School is named after my mom, who taught me the art of storytelling, so I do a lot of volunteering there. I have raised over $2,000 to support the reading room. Additionally, I love sharing insights that make people think and laugh on our community’s social media pages, such as the Western Prince William Chatter, the Greater Prince William Chatter and the Dale City Civic Association.
If you had to give advice to someone new to the area, what would you tell them and why?
There is something for everyone’s taste. If you enjoy spending time in nature, there is the beautiful Leesylvania State Park. For military history buffs, there is the Manassas National Battlefield Park. For book lovers like me, Prince William is filled with excellent public libraries.
How would you describe yourself in a few sentences?
Michael Otaigbe served more than two decades as an academic dean of Strayer University, Woodbridge campus. He was also privileged to serve three terms on the Prince William County School Board, representing the citizens of the Coles District. Currently, he is an adjunct professor of sociology and
economics at Germanna Community College in Fredericksburg.