Today I swallowed my seventh and last post-exposure anti-Malaria Malarone pill. This means that it has been a full week since I flew out of West Africa and into Europe, tearfully leaving behind the wonderful Youth Creating Change of Ghana family.
But wait: nothing is ever left behind in this Internet age!
And thus I can give you the news, seven days after my Accra departure, that the donations we have collected through this site for Youth Creating Change of Ghana are being put to great use at this very moment!
In these photos, the awesome YCC students are holding up hand-designed signs sporting the names of the fabulous ladies and gents who clicked the “Donate” button on the right side of this blog to help out the beloved youth center.
They are also holding “THANK YOU!” signs for all of you who have taken the time to read the Ghana student life story articles and have either left an encouraging comment or clicked the reaction buttons below each article. It means a lot to a writer when you read and react to his or her work, whether that writer is a child or an adult.
“Thanks so much!” the YCC students are singing in these photos. Or in the Ewe language: “AKPE!” And likewise, I’m hollering “Gracias!” at them through the screen for all the happiness and learning they have shared with volunteers like me.
In the background of some of these shots, you can see the donated library of YCC, which is one of the very few libraries in Ghana’s Volta Region. This much-used and much-loved literary collection was made possible by Bright Star Vision, USA (spearheaded by Mighty Marla Ludwig), as well as by kind contributors from Austria, and beyond.
It has also been astounding– and intensely moving– to see the outpouring of support from around the world for these YCC students and teachers, demonstrated through your interactions with this blog. Sure, some of the donations we got from this site were from loved ones who know me well and can trust that I am a good egg, but money and kind comments have also floated in from complete strangers as far away as South Africa, Australia, and Asia!
And as we speak, the funds raised for YCC are being used for much-needed support to:
– The international penpal program between YCC kids and schoolchildren around the world
– The inspirational Cross-Culture group which is preparing twelve Ghanaian students to voyage to London in August
– And the expansion of the fabulous five-school Reading Club program run out of the YCC donated library.
These youth programs do SO much good for the lives and communities they touch, and both YCC and myself truly appreciate the contributions you have made. Please stay tuned to this blog for detailed, photo-filled articles on what each of these programs does, which I didn’t have time to publish while still in Ghana! And get excited for even more student articles.
If you still want to donate to YCC, feel free to click the “Donate” button on the right sidebar of this page, and the funds will be dutifully transferred. However, if you need to save money right now (how understandable that is!), you can contribute a great deal just by reading and commenting on the YCC student life stories, and by spreading the word that there is truly wonderful work being done in West Africa, led by inspirational local people.
Send those YCC students and teachers good vibes over the oceans, and feel free to leave them a message of support!
Let us close with a very exciting aside: The lead photo for this article may be the only picture in historical existence in which studious and dignified YCC student Linda Kakraba (holding the “You” of “Thank You”) actually agreed to smile.
And what a beautiful smile it is!
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 3.7 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!