CELEBRATING THE LIFE OF “MR. FRED” GRAHAM
We have just learned of the passing of our #1 Volunteer, Fred Graham.
This page is dedicated to the service and memory of Mr. Fred in Elmina. He was a friend of everyone.
Below is a slideshow of photos that he took on his trip to Elmina, just last month. There is a great story about the crocodile near the end of the page (Fun things we get to do).
Rest in Perfect Peace Fred!
REACTION TO FRED’S PASSING AT CHRIST CARES SCHOOL IN ELMINA
At Christ Cares School in Elmina, Ghana, the news of the passing of Mr. Fred was taken with shock and disbelief. Friday 9 Nov included a moment of silence and some activities to remember their good friend.
Below is a slideshow of photos of Teachers, Students and TStars PIF students.
Friends of Mr. Fred, each and every one.
THANKS Mr. FRED. WE WILL MISS YOU!
HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR YEAR
22 STARS IN UNIVERSITY
We now support 22 outstanding students in University in Ghana. They attend 7 different institutions and include 5 students in “distance learning” while they work during the week.
PAY IT FORWARD (PIF) DAY
This gathering of Today’s and Tomorrow’s Stars is becoming a tradition to build our culture of “Paying It Forward” and “Becoming Your Dream”.
WRITING OUR OWN BOOKS AT MANY LEVELS
Our students are writing books!! We have software to convert text (English and Fante) and photos into a pdf. Then we can easily print them in Ghana or the US. Our students can read books written by people they know with pictures they recognize!
HELPING CHILDREN READ AT THE RESOURCE ROOM
Our Resource Room is helping students “learn through play” in small groups, led by our PIF girls. We teach them using Phonics and assess their performance. Those who struggle get extra attention. And we wrote a book about it.
NSOROMA HAS A STUDY CENTER
We have given a grant to Nsoroma (a non-profit started by Solo) to support an evening study center. Over 40 students (grades 4-8) who have joined are supported by parents and their school performance is monitored.
1-PAY IT FORWARD (PIF) DAY!!
Pay It Forward Day is organized when volunteers come to Christ Cares school (two-three times a year). Our Stars at all levels (from University grads, University students, to PIFs, to Edinaman HS and even JHS students with Nsoroma attend, many coming from a distance. This year we were nearly 40. Our program was designed to share successes and challenges and inspire the younger ones.
Here we are!! Today’s and Tomorrow’s Stars. Our PIF family!!
Volunteer Fred shared his life experiences in his “Always a Star” presentation. We are thankful for the opportunity to learn more about our friend. It seems even more important now.
University Students shared their experiences.
More PIFs enjoying the day!
I am thrilled to see the success in academics and leadership of our university students. I think the PIF (Pay It Forward) experience leads to maturity and dedication to the course they select.
Francis has graduated with a Doctor of Optometry degree from UCC with Honors at 3.7 GPA, with scholarship help from Tomorrow’s Stars. He was 3rd in a class of 39 at University of Cape Coast. He is “the baby” of 7 children and all his siblings had some tertiary education thanks to his family.
He now begins his National Service as Intern Optometrist at UCC attending to patients and helping to run the eye clinic while teaching clinical students. He does sight screenings at local villages and other charity work. He is truly a STAR!!
Here are some of our other University Students.
3-HELPING CHILDREN READ!
In Elmina, Fante is mostly spoken in the home. This makes it more difficult for students in Kindergarten and Primary to learn to read English well, but they become very good at repeating and memorizing and moving from grade to grade. But when they reach JHS it catches up with them. Tomorrow’s Stars wants every child at Christ Cares to be able to read well enough to learn by Grade 3.
Led by volunteers Sue Gonzalez and Toni Saul and directed by our leader Solo, our PIFs and Christ Cares teachers are dedicated to Helping Children Read!!
A Great Gift to the students.
OUR RESOURCE ROOM
The room is full of educational resources and ideas. The PIF girls schedule to have children from KG-1, KG-2 and Grades 1&2 come in groups of 12. Children with difficulties are identified using assessments and given extra time together to help them catch up.
WRITING AND PRINTING OUR OWN BOOKS
We are able to print our books at GN printing in Elmina and in the US. These two are available in small quantities, others will be coming next year.
If you are interested in copies of the different books, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We have learned that “Phonics” is a good method to help children learn to read in Elmina. Some of our teachers and PIFs have had training from Sue and Toni and Jolly Phonics (a company in Accra, the capital). They are very good!!
In January, we will contract Jolly Phonics to come to Elmina and deliver a 2-day hands on training for 40 teachers. (This had been scheduled earlier, but delayed). The 40 will include teachers from many local schools and many of our PIFs.
4-FINDING TOMORROW’S STARS!
The Tomorrow’s Stars mission is “to change lives through education”. In the past, we selected students using the JHS national exam (BECE). Now we are starting sooner, as early as Grade 4.
As mentioned before, Solo has started a Ghanaian charity (Nsoroma) which has started a study center. Tomorrow’s Stars provides grant money to Nsoroma to do this and some other projects.
The purpose is to give students a place to study and do homework after school with help and supervision. Students (grades 4-8) who have joined are supported by parents and their school performance is monitored. This will help us connect with good students before High School at Edinaman.
Our PIFs are study center leaders. Also we are starting “Nsoroma Connects” to help vocational students get apprenticeships at construction and other businesses. Fred and Bright and Solo have developed this idea. Our friend Bright was also project leader for the local latrine Fred and George helped renovate.
Students at the Study Center. Hopefully Tomorrow’s Stars!!
This is the second year of FREE HS education. This change has helped us financially, but challenged us in connecting with good students. We “list” certain students where there is mutual interest. We monitor and discuss their results and support them as appropriate.
Since students from afar get priority in boarding, we sometimes provide hostel rent that helps them get better study conditions. Also we have provided bicycles to 3 good students who live 6 mi away to save on taxi money.
They all came to PIF DAY. We are building relationships.
PAYING IT FORWARD
After Edinaman HS graduation (and during vacations) we have them come Christ Cares and other labs and libraries to Pay It Forward. We expect them to do this for two years before we allow applications for University scholarships.
We currently have 11 PIF students, each is gaining responsibility and skills and maturity as they think about “Becoming Their Dream”. They enjoy PIF DAY to learn from and admire their seniors.
5-MAKING EDUCATION POSSIBLE!
LIBRARIES, READING CONTESTS
We have libraries at three schools and a fourth is under construction. Our PIFs are the librarians. There are reading clubs and contests and even occasional excursions.
COMPUTER LAB AND SCIENCE LAB.
We have a great computer lab thanks to support from Enkei America as well as Gensler with donations of laptops and other equipment. We take good care of it too!! The projector is used for many applications including classroom lessons and presentations like Fred’s “Always a Star”.
We have 14 laptops now. Each year when we give university scholarships, our “freshmen” get to have a laptop from the lab, necessary for their studies.
We have Girls’ Clubs at Christ Cares and Bantuma. They deal with topics about the challenges of adolescent women as well as making jewelry and fabric goods. Madam Ruth, a GN bank co-manager, came to inspire the girls with her story of “becoming her dream”.
We also had a Miss Adehye pageant with talent show and speeches on social issues. Rose, a grade 7 leader and great student was the winner. Her topic was cleaning and sanitation and she could sing well too.
At Bantuma Girls Club, Mary and Helen introduced a first aid topic. The highlight was the girls acting out the actions for checking breathing and heartbeat. There was another about nosebleeds and general bleeding. It was done well.
The Christ Cares Girls Club said goodbye (for now) to Joana who is going to an apprenticeship at a fabric design shop. She has been a leader for the club. Also above is a photo of Ruth from GN bank receiving her citation for telling her story.
The club also gives a scholarship for each term at Christ Cares. This term, Godfred, the only young man in the club, was selected, he is well-accepted in the group. We are proud of him (and them).
FUN STUFF WE GET TO DO!!
As usual, most of the “Fun Stuff We Get To Do” involves being with “Mr Fred” Graham (for the last time). Being with Fred was always FUN!!
FRED, BOYS AND A CROCODILE
Fred took this picture of a crocodile near the school one day, stalking it to get a good photo. It’s a great photo and as always children were watching. The next day, a few young boys played a trick on him. First they took an old torn tire and stretched it out near the swamp to appear as a croc. Then they ran to Mr. Fred and said there’s a crocodile coming out of the lagoon. Fred went down with his camera, carefully moving closer and preparing for a photo. Closer, closer… with the boys right behind him. Just as he is ready to take the picture, one pulled his sleeve and said “Mr Fred. It’s a Tire” and they ran off laughing. Laughter, that’s what Fred brings.
George and Fred in a selfie at JFK before our last trip together, and Fred giving the NY and Mimi’s tour to George’s family, Nancy and Riley.
George with Lizandra, Mary and Elizabeth, friends since the beginning. George and Otabil at the table again. Otabil won in another very close match.