Author Archive

Dec18

Whole Foods Partnership In 2016

Whole Foods Pittsburgh has announced a partnership with Hope for Ghana in the first quarter of 2016 as part of their Nickels For Non-Profits fundraising campaign. From January 18, 2016 until April 10, 2016 customers in the Pittsburgh and Wexford stores who use a recyclable bag while shopping will be given back a nickel with the opportunity to donate that nickel back to one of two community partners. Hope for Ghana is excited and very grateful to have been chosen by Whole Foods as one of those Nickels For Non-Profits partners.

I thank the entire team at Whole Foods Pittsburgh for their ongoing generosity in our community and overseas, and for sharing the vision of Hope for Ghana and supporting its mission to bring hope and opportunity to children in Ghana who are yearning for a brighter future. I am most humbled that Hope for Ghana was chosen for this distinctive partnership among so many worthy non-profit charities in Pittsburgh.

Finally, as I reflect on an amazing 2015 for Hope for Ghana, let me share my enormous gratitude for everyone who has joined me on this journey. Whole Foods joins a group of generous donors from around the world, from individuals in America and Europe to larger corporations including Chick-fil-A, Premier Medical Associates, FC St. Pauli, Webb’s World of Fitness, St. Bruno Catholic Church and Daree Salam African Market. To all of you I remain forever grateful. You continue to impact the lives of thousands of children in Ghana everyday.

Have a happy and healthy new year.

whole foods.

Nov30

#GivingTuesday

On Tuesday, December 1. 2015 Hope for Ghana will be participating in #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to charitable giving. #GivingTuesday is an annual event following Black Friday and Cyber Monday that inspires all of us to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes we support. It is a movement that reminds all of us what the holiday season is all about. Hope for Ghana is very proud to be a partner of #GivingTuesday.

After Thanksgiving I spoke with Noble, the assistant headmaster at Tegbi Agbedrafor Basic School, home of Hope for Ghana’s third project, The Elena Haasen Library. He reminded me that children are reading in the library every day, and he insists that the reading level and English comprehension of his students has dramatically increased since the library opened in March 2015. The children love the learning software on the computers, and he noted that “boys are even teaching the girls how to use the computers.” I am constantly reminded of the impact of Hope for Ghana’s mission. Together a mission of hope and opportunity is making a difference in the lives of thousands of children overseas. The possibilities are boundless.

So on #GivingTuesday join me in celebrating the holiday season as we find ways to give back in this world and strive to make the world a better place. Tomorrow, share the mission of Hope for Ghana via email or on social media. Share the #GivingTuesday picture below on Facebook or Twitter tomorrow, and remind your friends that they can truly bring a brighter future to these Ghanaian children. All donations are tax-deductible and can be made directly on Hope for Ghana’s website, www.hopeforghana.com.

Have a beautiful, healthy and safe holiday season!

2015-Churchill-quote

Nov02

Chick-fil-A To Host Fundraiser

SAVE THE DATE …

I am very excited to announce that Chick-fil-A will host a fundraising event for Hope for Ghana on Thursday, November 19, 2015 from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm in the Miracle Mile restaurant in Pittsburgh. For the second year in a row Chick-fil-A will generously donate a portion of their profits during these hours to Hope for Ghana. Hope for Ghana has much to be grateful for at this time of the year, as it recently became a non-profit tax deductible public charity. On the heels of creating The Elena Haasen Library, Hope for Ghana stands ready to build its fourth library and computer lab this coming February to afford children in the rural villages educational tools never before available to them.

So please save the date and join me at Chick-fil-A on November 19, 2015 between 4 and 7 pm for an amazing evening of food, celebration and charity. Please spread the word and invite your 100 hungriest friends to join us!

I am very grateful to Chick-fil-A for their eagerness to support Hope for Ghana’s mission and for helping to raise public awareness of this work. And to all those who have joined me on this incredible journey I thank you again and look forward to seeing you at Chick-fil-A. Your contributions continue to impact the lives of these beautiful Ghanaian children in more ways than you can imagine.

Please continue to visit Hope for Ghana on Facebook and share the word of this mission. See you on the 19th!

With a lot of gratitude,

Steve

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Oct29

Fourth Library Coming February

43Hope for Ghana is thrilled to announce it is ready to build again. Anloga, a poor rural village in the Volta Region of Ghana whose inhabitants are mostly fishermen and farmers, will be the home of Hope for Ghana’s fourth library and computer lab at a school of 1000 primary school and junior high school students. The same very special team in Ghana who built the second library at Tegbi Roman Catholic School in 2014 and recently The Elena Haasen Library at Tegbi Agbedrafor Basic School will provide the workmanship for this project. While some books will be brought over from the United States, most of the books will be purchased in Accra, the capital of Ghana. Though all the learning software for the computer lab is purchased in the United States, the computer system in its entirety is bought from a major IT company in Accra. Hope for Ghana will continue to spend over 90% of its donations overseas in Ghana, putting money in the hands of the Ghanaian people and Ghanaian companies.

Hope for Ghana’s newest project will proudly be dedicated to the memory of Fritz Cameron. It was 1977, when a 28 year old from Arnold, Pennsylvania packed his bags and headed to Ghana as a Peace Corps volunteer. He was older than the usual volunteers at the time and a math teacher was urgently needed. Fritz Cameron had no idea that a small school in Cape Coast, The Holy Child School, would start an overseas teaching career that spanned over 37 years. Fritz left Ghana with a promise to return one day. He was planning on retracing his steps in West Africa after retirement. After his untimely death in 2014, Fritz’s family contacted Hope for Ghana with the wish to fulfill his promise through the creation of a library and computer lab for the children of Ghana. The Fritz Cameron Library will serve to educate Ghanaian children in the same way that Fritz dedicated his life to educating and impacting children in Ghana nearly 40 years ago.

I am very grateful for the growing awareness of Hope for Ghana’s mission and the overwhelmingly generous support from donors all over the world. The libraries and computer labs we’ve created together are used by students and teachers, from young children just learning how to read to older children doing research for school projects and teachers preparing the next day’s lessons. Our journey is far from over. As the voice of these beautiful Ghanaian children I thank you for creating hope and opportunity with your involvement and tax-deductible donations as Hope for Ghana brings educational tools to children starving for the chance to learn and yearning for a brighter future. Together the possibilities are boundless.

With love and gratitude,

Steve

fritz

Oct11

Computer Lab Completes Library

30I return from Ghana with great excitement about what Hope for Ghana has left behind in the small village of Tegbi. Amidst the overwhelming warm welcome of the Ghanaian people much was accomplished at Tegbi Agbedrafor Basic School, home of The Elena Haasen Library dedicated on March 11, 2015. The assistant headmaster informed me that the school census has grown from 600 to 700 students, with new students attracted to Hope for Ghana’s latest library. He promises me that the reading level of his students is going up, as children fill the library, eager to read story books, encyclopedias and reference books never before available to them. Teachers use The Elena Haasen Library to do their own research and to prepare the next day’s lessons for their students. And with my own eyes each day I proudly saw what we have done together as I watched The Elena Haasen Library fill to capacity with students overjoyed to have the chance to read. It was a great reminder of why I had made the long journey.

Within a few days of my arrival a computer lab was established in the library, with a brand new Dell computer system brought in from the capital city, Accra. Over 50 learning software programs were downloaded onto the computer, ranging from elementary reading and spelling programs to more advanced math and science programs. Two online encyclopedias serve as reference material on every imaginable subject, where students can search any subject of interest, watch videos, scan atlases and reference the world around them. Several days were spent at Accra’s largest book stores, bringing back to the library hundreds of new books, including the library’s 3rd full encyclopedia set. It was a joy to see the students immerse themselves in all the computer learning programs and books, eager to put there hands on a computer and hungry for new ways of learning.

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My days in Ghana were filled with so many emotions, inspired by amazing people and stories too difficult to even summarize, but a few very special moments must be told.

Hamburg, Germany’s professional football team, FC St. Pauli, and its fanclub have been very generous donors towards Hope for Ghana’s mission, as Elena Haasen had been an avid member of the team’s fan club, the Ragazzi. The Hamburg team donated 20 football jerseys and shorts to the football team at the school in Tegbi that I was privileged to deliver. Few schools in Ghana have their own jerseys so you can only imagine how thrilled the students were to be wearing professional jerseys with great pride. In an impromptu assembly of the student body, the football players paraded out in their new uniforms in front of the assembled students while the headmaster and I gave a speech of encouragement to the football players and great thanks to FC St. Pauli.

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On October 1, 2015, the first anniversary of Elena Haasen’s death, the school held a special worship service to honor and remember Elena. It was one of the most emotional and memorable moments I’ve spent in Ghana in almost 30 years. I was honored to deliver a speech remembering the life of Elena and reflect on the impact of the library named in her honor. It was evident that day that Elena had truly made an impact on the entire school and community. Elena’s family and friends will be proud that her ideals live on in this small village in Ghana.

The day before I left Ghana I had an unexpected meeting with 2 journalists from ZTV in Accra who happened to be in Tegbi visiting family. When they heard of Hope for Ghana and the recent creation of The Elena Haasen Library they immediately wanted to visit the library and hear more about the mission. Overwhelmed at what they saw, they instantly produced a television segment about The Elena Haasen Library and the work of Hope for Ghana that aired the next day throughout the country. I thank ZTV for their thorough coverage in this beautiful television segment.

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I leave the small village of Tegbi knowing that The Elena Haasen Library will provide educational tools to the children in Ghana for years to come. The future looks bright at Tegbi Agbedrafor Basic School as one can feel the palpable excitement from students hungry for education and opportunity. Community members, from locals to Assemblymen, greet me to thank me for what has been left behind, knowing that few schools in West Africa have such a resource. I remind them that this is the gift of donors all over the world who believe in these children and their future.

To all those who have joined me on this journey I thank you again for allowing the vision of Hope for Ghana to come to life through your support and generosity. As the voice of these grateful Ghanaian children I say thank you from the bottom of my heart.

With much gratitude,

Steve

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Oct11

Ghana TV Airs Library Story

On October 5, 2015 ZTV in Accra aired the story of The Elena Haasen Library and the work of Hope for Ghana in a piece entitled “Tegbi Library Inaugurated” as part of their local news coverage. My great thanks to journalists Thomas Wemegah and Gideon Amevor for the thorough coverage and their sincere appreciation for Hope for Ghana’s recently created library and computer lab in Tegbi.

Sep09

A Tax-Deductible Public Charity

Hope for Ghana is very proud to announce that it has become a non-profit corporation in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and has achieved the status of a 501 (c) (3) non-profit tax-deductible public charity from the Internal Revenue Service. This is extremely exciting news as Hope for Ghana continues its mission to bring educational opportunity to the children of Ghana. The mission is the same, and Hope for Ghana’s work in Ghana remains unchanged. A mission of hope through opportunity, and hope through education is more vibrant than ever as Hope for Ghana sees and plans for the need for more libraries and computer labs in the impoverished rural villages in Ghana. The only thing that changes is the opportunity for individual and corporate donors.

The growth of Hope for Ghana and the impact it continues to have in Ghana due to immense donor support is what motivated Hope for Ghana and its newly elected Board of Directors to become a tax-deductible public charity. All gifts to Hope for Ghana are now tax-deductible under section 501 (c) (3) of the IRS tax code. If you work for a company that offers a matching gift program, your contribution can now be doubled or even tripled. Hope for Ghana’s status as a public charity now opens doors to corporations that would otherwise have never been able to donate. All of this translates to huge potential growth in Hope for Ghana’s impact in the lives of children in the rural villages in Ghana.

As I get ready to leave for Ghana to expand The Elena Haasen Library with hundreds of more books and the addition of a computer lab, I am very proud of how together we have made the mission of Hope for Ghana come to life. Only four years ago 28 children from an orphanage in the Volta Region of Ghana inspired my vision to bring these children hope and opportunity. From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Hamburg, Germany and many cities in between, Hope for Ghana’s donors have forever impacted the lives of thousands of Ghanaian children. You have given children hope as they know that people on this side of the world love them and believe in their future … that alone is priceless. You have given them the opportunity for a brighter future … that is beyond priceless. Donations are always greatly appreciated.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for joining me on this journey and for sharing this vision with me. Together the possibilities are boundless!

With much love and gratitude,

Steve

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Sep03

Library To Add Computer Lab

34I am thrilled to return to Ghana in 2 weeks for the expansion of The Elena Haasen Library, Hope for Ghana’s third project dedicated on March 11, 2015 to honor the memory of the daughter of a dear friend. Elena Haasen’s ideals and values continue to live on today at Tegbi Agbedrafor Basic School, home to 600 primary and junior secondary school students, where The Elena Haasen Library is thriving. The assistant headmaster, Noble, has assured me that the reading level of his students has dramatically increased as students look forward to using the library each day. In addition to an infusion of hundreds of new books to the library, Hope for Ghana will bring its signature computer lab to this learning center. A new Dell computer system from the capital city, Accra, has been purchased and will be installed in the library soon after my arrival. Learning software including Encyclopedia Britannica and World Book Encyclopedia will complement software that teaches math, reading, spelling and science, changing forever the face of these students’ education. It is an exciting time in Ghana, and an emotional time for me. The generosity of people from Pittsburgh to Hamburg has changed the lives of these grateful Ghanaian children. And on October 1, 2015 Hope for Ghana will formally open the computer lab, exactly one year after the untimely death of Elena at age 16.

Since leaving Ghana only 6 months ago I continue to be astounded by the generosity of the local and world community towards Hope for Ghana’s mission. Hope for Ghana continues to be a Pittsburgh story. In March, while I was still in Ghana, 7 year old Marco dedicated his birthday party to Hope for Ghana, raising money and collecting wonderful school supplies for the children in the Volta Region. This came on the heels of 6 year old Ashleigh dedicating her birthday party this past winter to Hope for Ghana, collecting many of the books that are now housed in The Elena Haasen Library. This summer the parents of 3 year old Johnny for the third year in a row asked family and friends, instead of buying Johnny gifts, to donate to Hope for Ghana. My 8 year old patient Ricky continues to bring me the finest of shoes to share with his peers on the other side of the world, children he will never know but children that clearly touch his heart. And Elena Haasen has made Hope for Ghana a true Hamburg story. The fan club of Hamburg’s professional football team, FC St. Pauli, has honored Elena by commiting themselves to Hope for Ghana’s mission. Through various platforms several thousands of dollars have been raised towards the upcoming expansion of The Elena Haasen Library. Even FC St. Pauli’s premier player, Jan-Philipp Kalla, has symbolically fueled this campaign. I am humbled and grateful, and truly moved by the generosity from hundreds of people all around the world.

To all those who have come along this journey with me I thank you for the blessing that you are in the lives of these impoverished children in Ghana. Our journey continues to impact more people than you can imagine. There is indeed hope through opportunity, and hope through education in the remotest of villages in Ghana. I can assure you that Ghanaians are touched that so many people believe in their future.

As the voice of these children in Ghana I thank you from the bottom of my heart for traveling on this journey with me and helping to bring these children educational tools never before afforded to them. You have allowed my vision to come to life. More big news is on the horizon for Hope for Ghana as I write to you today. In the next few days Hope for Ghana will have very exciting news to announce as its story continues to grow. Stay tuned …

With love and gratitude,

Steve

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