Achievements in Elmina: Summer 2018

CHANGING LIVES THROUGH EDUCATION

Our mission is becoming a reality.

Volunteers George, Sue and Toni were welcomed in Elmina this summer.  We are pleased to share some experiences and photos.  Please share our joy as we watch young adults “Pay It Forward” and become their dreams through our university scholarships We also help young children learn to read so they can have a better future.  Some highlights:

PAYING IT FORWARD!  THE KEY TO OUR SUCCESS:

We now have nearly 30 active PIF (Pay It Forward) students showing leadership in their service to the younger students as well as in their University performance.  

16 of these are University Scholarship students.  Their performance is top level in academics and leadership, in part due to their maturity from Paying It Forward.

CHILDREN LEARNING TO READ!!  (AND WRITE AND PRINT BOOKS)

Jolly Phonics methods for learning letters, sounds and motions are preparing KG children to read.  Our Resource Room activities and learning assessments (designed by Reading Specialists Sue Gonzalez and Toni Saul) help PIFs and teachers provide one on one support.  For more see Sue’s page.  Volunteer Sue Visits Elmina 2018

For writing and printing our own books, we have had some delays.  Current goal is to have multiple copies printed of 4 books for small children and 3 books for upper grades by the end of October.  

OTHER GREAT THINGS WE DO!!

Sue has also done a page to include the story of our Star Leticia as well as updates on children reading and the Girls Clubs.  Volunteer Sue Visits Elmina 2018

We visited Kathy Knowles libraries in Accra and Sue and Toni did a workshop for their librarians about how to help struggling readers.  See below.

Our Libraries, Reading Clubs, Girls Clubs and ICT and Science Labs are thriving under the leadership of our PIFs.  See below and on Sue’s page.

We added a heartwarming story about our PIF Esther and daughter Ama to help supporters understand our PIF family.  See it under “Fun Stuff” below.  

PAY IT FORWARD DAY!!

We had an inspiring gathering of nearly all of our Stars, PIFs and Volunteers.  We shared personal stories and dreams during “Always a Star” then each one of us shared a story about someone who has inspired us.  We have become a family.

 

Bentil, Aggie and Lawrenda during their “Always a Star” presentations.

 

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UNIVERSITY SCHOLARSHIPS FOR STARS!!

We have 16 in University now, Francis is graduating and we will be adding 8 more.  These young men and women are performing very well in part because the PIF program provides guidance and maturity to help them “Become their Dreams”.

University costs are low compared to the US.  Tuition/room is about $1000, of course there are many other expenses, including a need for a laptop.  

Please donate to help these “Stars”  Please Donate

Rudolph (Center) returned as a doctor and author to share his experience as our “Pioneer”.  His books are available on Amazon. 

His Amazon web site is:  Rudolph Mensah at smile.amazon.com

Francis (Left) has graduated with a degree in Optometry, he has done many sight screenings in small villages.  He will do National Service this year.

Otabil (Right) is going into year 3 as physician assistant, he has done 3 attachments at hospitals already and loves his work and is so thankful that TStars has made his education possible.  His talk was inspiring!!

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CHILDREN LEARNING TO READ!

Tomorrow’s Stars has TWO Reading Specialists (Dr. Toni Saul and Sue Gonzalez) and both were in Elmina this trip.  Although  class sizes in KG1, KG2, Grades 1 & 2 are large at Christ Cares school, we provide specific reading help using our Resource Room and PIFs.

Children love to come to the Resource Room from their class for an hour in groups of 12 and 2-3 PIF girls work with them on letters and sounds (Jolly Phonics) as well as helping them read books and reading stories to them.  These classes are customized to the abilities of the students to help them learn at their own pace.

This is a huge success as proven by individual assessments designed by Sue and Toni and carried out by PIF girls Esther, Sharon, Kate and Joana.  It is really cool that the results matched well with observations by teachers and PIFs.  This helps us take action with those who struggle.

Toni and Sue have become very close with our girls PIFs.

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KATHY KNOWLES LIBRARIES

Kathy Knowles is an inspiring Canadian woman who has 8 libraries in Ghana and writes her own reading books with photos.  Web site:   Kathy Knowles Libraries

We decided to visit a library and the learning center (including a theatre and adult learning center) and Kathy asked Toni and Sue to help her librarians with some techniques to help struggling readers.  Interaction was great and it was a memorable time for all.  We also bought 100 Kathy Knowles books for our libraries.

Our first stop was Nima Learning Center, then the Osu library.  Osu is 25 years old and started as a shipping container.  

TOMORROW’S STARS LIBRARIES

We are now working on our 4th library!!  It is at nearby Abundant Grace school, they have nearly finished the room construction and we have Kathy Knowles books to start them off.  Our PIF Faustina will start it off part time.  Photos available next time.

Bantuma and Christ Cares Libraries are thriving.  Christ Cares is linked closely with the resource room as well as support of the lower grades.  Bantuma Library has an active Reading Club.  Both have reading contests.  

GIRLS’ CLUBS

We have active Girls’ Clubs at Bantuma and Christ Cares.  Now that we have girls Paying It Forward at Bantuma (PIFs Mary and Helen and Faustie), we  are helping two teachers  mentor the club.

At Christ Cares the girls’ club is very active under leadership of Kate and other PIFs.  See Sue’s page for details and photos.  Volunteer Sue Visits Elmina 2018

EDINAMAN HIGH SCHOOL

Edinaman is where all our students go to HS.  You may recall that we provide scholarships there, mostly boarding in the dorms.  This year the Ghana gov’t began to provide “FREE” high school education.  There are some growing pains (our students are too close to qualify for boarding) but we are adjusting. 

There are about 800 in each class and our students are #1 and #5 in two of the classes continuing our astounding performance we wrote about last time. 

  Francis is #1 in first year class.  We hope to get him into boarding house in Sept.  At right is George’s friend and retired Edinaman HM Mr. Amanfu with PIF Emmanuel. 

Our decision to have all students go to Edinaman has given us unexpected benefits.  As time has passed and students have gone from Edinaman to PIF to University, we have become a family because all have been together since they were children.  We didn’t foresee this, but will call it a “happy accident” in policy.

By the way, Edinaman’s reputation and performance has also improved greatly over the past 10 years.  They have made top 16 in national Science and Math Quiz last two years.  Both times we had students on the team.

NSOROMA:  (The Fante word for “Star”)   

Nsoroma continues to manage the after school/evening Study Center with about 40 students coming 3 times a week as reported last time.  Our Star and coordinator Solo founded and operates Nsoroma with grants from Tomorrow’s Stars.  

The Study Center coaches are PIFs.  In addition to the Study Center Nsoroma is involved in other community activities including health screening at local schools and renovating a local latrine.  Nsoroma helps Tomorrow’s Stars impact the community in ways that are not possible for a foreign NGO (non-profit).

FUN STUFF WE GET TO DO!!

Esther and Ama:

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Esther and Ama

We have known Esther since she was 12.  She has always been dedicated, respectful, happy and a hardworking student.  Everybody loves Esther.  She implemented the handwashing program and is a “star” in the resource room.  She hoped to study business in university last September.  

Then in early 2017 she had an unintended pregnancy.  She and her family were distraught.  She thought Tomorrow’s Stars, the school and her friends would abandon her.  She thought her dreams would be gone, as often is the case when a young woman becomes pregnant in Ghana.  Then in September, little Ama was born.

Now nearly one year later, Esther is strong and confident, and is our Resource Room leader.  Her parents are happy and helping with child care.  Ama comes to school every day and seems to have 20 parents.  Esther’s dream of a university education begins in September at Nduom University, a great new university for business and technology started by local entrepreneur and our friend Dr. Nduom.  She is excited about the opportunity, hooray for Esther. 

This is Tomorrow’s Stars!  This is our PIF family!  Esther has earned the chance to Become Her Dream, and she will.  In the mean time, Ama is going to school and PIFs are reading books to her. 

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The Bakatue Festival:

Bakatue is a local fishing festival held in early July.  There are ceremonies with local “chiefs” and blessings and libations at the lagoon with a ceremonial casting of nets to predict the success of the upcoming fishing season.  The results were very encouraging for this year.  

The life of a fisherman is hard, maintaining the piroque boats (most have motors) and nets.  The area has a shallow shelf that goes out to the sea with good fishing.  Chinese factory ships often “invade” the waters.  Fisherman have been here for hundreds of years.  Elmina is a World historic site and was first visited by Portuguese in 1483.

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Sydney Arrandt:

A while back, Joe Brown (an author of children’s books) met our volunteer Sue and read his books to her students.  Later, he told his granddaughter Sydney about it and Sue and Sydney shared photos and videos about Tomorrow’s Stars.  Sydney (12 yrs old) decided that she would raise money for us at her Bat Mitzvah and selling cards she makes.  Her fundraising has now reached nearly $4000.  Our PIFs and Girls Club would love to meet her.  Grade 6 students Janet and Rose have been corresponding.  Joe has sent over 5 of his books that are being read aloud.  They are about the power of imagination and they are inspiring, especially when read and emoted by PIFs Kate and  Sharon.  A citation has been awarded to Sydney by the Girls’ Club.

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Spending time with our friends.

We volunteers continue to be overwhelmed with pride and joy as we get to know our young men and women, watch them grow up and help them “Become their Dreams”.

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