Showing posts with label liberia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label liberia. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Bumpy Road to a New Computer Training Center

Spryte Loriano, fresh off Liberia’s largest teacher training in its history, heads out to the countryside to follow up with impact programs in the rural areas.

This is her report:

The HUB/StarShine 3-Day Teacher Training may be over for now, but now the journey of impact continues this week into the “interior” of Liberia. The road to Grand Bassa County and the city of Buchannan took us five hours on Saturday, which was slower than usual, due to a cautious driver on very bumpy roads – the usual joke from visitors is, “I like a little road with my potholes.” I must be getting use to being knocked around by the roads in Liberia, for I actually slept most of the way there – either that, or I was just exhausted from the excitement and energy of the previous few days!

Upon arrival, we dropped off a new generator and two new computers to complete first round of ten computers at the Youth Action International Computer Training Center!

This center is the fulfillment of a promise made to the youth of Grand Bassa over a year ago, when Charlie and I first visited in July 2008. The center will provide consecutive 3-month training programs in Microsoft Office Suite to 64 youth. They will receive a Certificate of Completion and the skills to give them a leg up in finding employment. As funding for the center is completed, this building will also house a reading library for the youth with internet access and additional computers to download empowerment programs and audios. This is where HUB Faculty will be able to share their brilliance directly with the youth of this rural community, who are hungry for knowledge and an opportunity for them to grow into the future leaders of their country and the global community.

This is the only program of its kind in Buchannan. What makes it different is the cost. The current computer training program that exists in Buchannan is not accessible to most youth because it costs $200US. When you realize that most professional teachers, for example, in Liberia are paid anywhere from $30 to $100 per month, and most youth don’t have access to good paying jobs – this training is just out of reach. YAI charges the students a one-time registration fee of $10.00. As you can imagine, the youth are lining up early to fill out their applications, with hopes of being the first to be trained. Over 200 young people will apply for this quarter, but only 64 will be chosen. They are chosen based on their current level of education (high school grad’s or pending graduation), their age (they must be under 30), and their dreams and goals, as YAI wants to be sure that the most ambitious and driven students have the opportunity to expand their skills first.

This program is essential to this rural community. It will help aspiring rural youth compete for access into still a limited university system, and it will provide a more skilled employment base in the rural areas for the businesses that are re-establishing themselves after the war. Once a thriving, resort area, Buchannan, like the rest of Liberia is picking itself back up, and hopes to once again become a fine destination spot for tourists. Personally, I think it’s one of the most beautiful, lush landscapes on the ocean I’ve ever seen, and coupled with the tranquility, kindness and peacefulness of its inhabitants, Buchannan and it’s lovely people feels like home and is a place that has my heart.

from Grand Bassa with love … Spryte, HUB Chief Humanitarian Officer

PLEASE NOTE: Anyone called to donate Computers and/or shipping of computers to Liberia please contact

Monday, August 24, 2009

Today’s Word…Wow!

Today’s Word…Wow!

Today’s Word…Wow!

Hope for Liberian Teachers have been returned to them this week. 15 years of war saw practically all teachers flee or be killed. Now through HUB’s teacher training program with Phoenix-based StarShine Academy and Youth Action International, hope has returned and a plan to bring education to a country has been fostered.

Spryte Loriano, HUB’s Chief Humanitarian Officer, files this momentous Day 3 report from the Civic Assembly Hall, Monrovia Liberia:

“Trish wanted to ‘wow’ them today, our over 600 student Teachers in the HUB/StarShine Teacher Training.

So we arrived exactly at 10:00am when the workshop was to begin. We arrived through the back door that lets us directly onto the stage. And the four of us – Trish, Jan, Amber and myself were wearing traditional Liberian dresses complete with headwraps! As soon as they saw us appear on stage from behind our makeshift screen, they began cheering, applauding, hooting and stomping for us in appreciation of our outfits! We ran to the front for a big bow, and Trish told them that we wanted to honor them today, and to share ‘our gratitude’ to them for showing up in droves each day! They went wild in appreciation for us – and we all got very teary.

It was a day of continued learning. It was also a day of clarity for them, as today we rolled out our complete plan to them. The topics I covered with them was what they will receive when they are in complete partnership with us, and what we expect of them to uphold their responsibilities to the program.

Here’s the plan: They receive…

Student manuals for each of the students they teach for School Year 2009; Student manuals for each year for those who follow the requirements of the program; the opportunity to receive additional training from StarShine; the opportunity to earn US college credits from Maricopa Colleges (Phoenix, AZ); and a Community Resource Center – a HUB in the center of Monrovia just for them, where there will be computers, internet and additional training provided on an on-going basis, and where they can ‘connect, create and collaborate’ with their fellow teacher community!

The applause and cheering was deafening after reading off each line!

Here’s what we asked of them…

To respond within two weeks, when their student manuals arrive, with the first of the tracking information on all of their students; a response within 2 weeks on all communications requesting updates and reports and to fill out all forms we send them for tracking purposes completely; regular status and update reports filled out for themselves and for all of their students over the school year.

Kimmie told us after the day was over, how surprised he was at the turnout through the entire workshop, ‘Normally in a training of this kind, you would see the full amount come the first day, then the attendance slowly dwindle as the workshop progresses; but not in this case. We were all happily surprised that every single person attended all three days, and stayed for every moment. They received a great value – and they knew it.’

The day did not end without some mishap – which I’ve found common working in Liberia. We ran out of Certificates for Graduation! So while 90% received their graduation certificates, about 10% had to wait almost two hours after the ceremony to receive it. And, EVERY one of them stayed! Each person shook our hands, gave us hugs and told us of the deep appreciation they have to us and all of our supporters.

Over and over we heard a similar comment from teachers and principals who look you deeply in your eyes with authenticity and soul, ‘During the war, many of the brightest of Liberians fled, and the others were killed. We are desperate for education to rebuild those who are here into leaders for a peaceful, sound country. We thank you so much for traveling across the sea to help us! We are deeply grateful to you.’

And at the end, after dancing to two rounds of ‘Mama Liberia,’ one of the most fantastic, rhythmic and exciting national songs I’ve ever experienced, THEY requested, yet one more time….’Fly Like an Eagle!’ and we all sang and danced together as a community in partnership for education, empowerment and sustainability for all.

Where else but HUB can you be a part of this kind of miracle and know that you are not only contributing from financial support, but that because you allow yourself to be in a ‘giving-receiving model,’ you are also in a true partnership of ‘empowerment’ for all? Each of you, will have the opportunity to partner with these pioneers of education and change in various ways.”

You will find out how very soon!

Day Two – Empowering Teachers to Change Their Country!

Friday, August 21st, 2009
Written by: Lois

Today’s report filed by Spryte Loriano, Chief Humanitarian Officer, HUB:

Today was a day like none other – we thought that the worst was behind us from the pandemonium of trying to register so many people the first day! And arriving in the morning, Kimmie and his staff plus over 20 volunteers were already there leading a smooth as silk process for the second day. The world seemed perfect – I went upstage and the Audio/Visual manager was preparing and testing his equipment, the camera technician was setting up – all was right with the world. And then five minutes into the training of the day, Trish and Jan were on stage, having a ball, and so was the audience – and the audio equipment completely stopped working! There is no way in a crowded auditorium such as this that one could possibly shout loud enough for all to hear – so we did the next best thing… I ran out to the lobby and grabbed the MEGA-PHONE from Kimmie!

Can you imagine trying to teach your class with one mega-phone between two speakers? But these girls pulled it off with grace and class and lots of laughs at their expense that everyone just rolled with without a single complaint from them or the audience – I’m sure that’s not an all too uncommon occurrence to this audience! And gratefully, we were back up with microphones in about an hour.

A few startling facts that surfaced during the day…

Trish asked the 600 teachers how many of them had ever used a computer – about ten hands raised!

She asked how many had a television – about five raised their hands!

She asked how many watched at least one television show during a week – less than 20 raised their hands!

And when she was teaching about how to share reading skills with their classes and taught them that the average person uses only 220 words every day in ALL of their conversations, and that this was the basis for books wisely written by Dr. Seuss, specifically “The Cat in the Hat,” and asked how many knew about Dr. Seuss books – ONE person raised his hand!

A sobering experience, and one that speaks so loudly as to the mission that we are on. How can people be empowered to exist on an equal playing field in the world economy without access to the resources that so much of the developed nations take for granted?

But what Liberians do have is the newspaper. I have been amazed since my first visit to Liberia by the number of people I see in the streets reading a newspaper…it is their only access to what is current, relevant and possible in their own country and beyond. And they read it fervently and daily.

One of the programs we support through YAI is national school libraries. I remember visiting here in March, when we were dedicating the first of such libraries at the Special Project High School in Monrovia. I asked Kimmie Weeks what he felt it meant to the students to have a library. He responded, “Well, for most of us, it would actually seem strange and absurd to have a school and not to have a library in it. So for these students, it means everything to them to have access to text books, non-fiction and fiction books that they can use to dig deeper into their lessons and expand their thinking. It will open a whole new world of opportunity and possibility for them.”

Trish and her team went on to share with them ways in which they could empower themselves with the resources they did have to expect the best of themselves and their students! One of the ways that they stressed was through community service, especially around cleaning up their environments and picking up trash and creating school projects of pride for the whole community. I happened to walk into the lobby at one point during the day and Kimmie introduced me to the Mayor, Mary Broh, who had come down from her office in City Hall to see what was happening. She’s famous in Monrovia for riding around in a truck with a broom and whenever she sees trash, she stops and gets out and sweeps it up herself! She has also hired a crew of street cleaners that can be seen sweeping up the streets in uniforms! She told me that it’s very difficult to engage the community in clean-up because for generations before the war, Liberians had those in society that would do “that kind of work” so though there is now massive poverty in the city, culturally it is ingrained for them not stoop so low as to clean up the streets. She said that it is her hope that she can inspire business owners to lead the charge for the rest of the community.

And the day was topped off with an experience that only those of us from the US or die-hard rock-and-roll lovers may possibly appreciate. Trish McCarty is married to Steve McCarty, formerly of the Steve Miller Band, who wrote the famous song “Fly Like an Eagle.” Though most of the teachers had never heard it before, Trish put the words of the chorus up on the screen (which is actually two pinned together sheets hanging on the back wall of City Hall) and had them all stand up to sing and dance with the song. She explained the lyrics ahead of time…”shoe the children that don’t have enough to eat; house the people, living in the streets; oohh, there’s a solution,” to which there were cheers and applause. But the greatest joy was watching them join us crazy white girls on stage flapping our arms like eagles during the chorus and seeing a sea of Liberian teachers in love with the exploration of life and love and community!

Yes, another amazing day. And an experience that they will and we will never forget.

with gratitude, Spryte

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

HUB and StarShine Academy partner to train 400 teachers in Liberia

HUB and StarShine Academy partner to train 400 teachers in Liberia

Trish McCarty of StarShine Academy is a Founding Arc Angel HUBbie from Phoenix, Az

Trish McCarty of StarShine Academy is a Founding Arc Angel HUBbie from Phoenix, Az

HUB has partnered with StarShine Academy, to provide a HUB/StarShine Quintessential Teacher Training Program to 400 teachers in Monrovia, Liberia August 19 to 21, 2009! StarShine Academy was founded by HUB Founding Arc Angel, Trish McCarty of Phoenix, AZ. Trish has built several successful companies based on creating long-term relationships with customers. She relies on her strong corporate and banking background at AT&T, Mellon, and Norwest to infuse companies with a “keep it simple” philosophy and an attitude of teamwork and accountability.

In 2000, acting on her belief that every person deserves to be educated with the best resources available, McCarty formed Education Resources to address increasingly complex and critical problems in the education market. She created joint ventures to produce proprietary educational

solutions for individuals, companies, government and schools. Partners included Gateway, Learning Station, MBNA, Insight Learning, Cox Communications and the State of Arizona.

In 2002, Mrs. McCarty opened a k-12 school for high-risk, inner-city Phoenix children to prove that with the right help, all children learn to reach for the stars, so she named the Community Learning Center: StarShine Academy In Sept. 2004, the academy hosted an international event for Peace with the United Nations Children Organization.

She has been featured in INC Magazine , the New York Times , Working Woman and several other publications. She has been recognized with awards including, Working Woman’s Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, Los Angeles Music Humanitarian Award, Arizona Interfaith Golden Rule Award for Education and named one of the Top 100 Women of Arizona of 2000.

StarShine Academy holds two exceptional and sought after Accreditations: NCA CASI and CITA.

Founded in 1895, North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement or NCA CASI ( accredits over 8,500 public and private schools in 19 states, the Navajo Nation, and Department of Defense Schools. NCA CASI is an accreditation division of AdvancED. AdvancED is also the parent organization of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI) and the National Study of School Evaluation (NSSE).

The Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation or CITA ( ) is a global leader in accreditation, providing systems of accreditation around the world. CITA Standards promote quality schools and continuous improvement to enhance student success. CITA accreditation engages CITA schools in the world’s largest network of accredited schools. CITA provides customized accreditation protocols and standards for schools across the USA and for national and international schools around the world. Today, members of the CITA Alliance accredit more than 32,000 schools in 100 countries, touching over 17 million students.

STARSHINE uses a diverse approach to inspire and educate children and teachers alike.

The StarShine Academy Principles are the foundation of everything we do, teach and stand for.

  1. Every person born is unique and perfect and on their own road to discovering their dreams and highest calling.

  2. We are on the planet to help one another toward achieving individual goals for the Greater Good of All.

  3. We each do the best that we can on each day, depending on what we know and understand, according to Maslow’s Hierarchy.

  4. Music is the first language.

  5. Beautiful, safe environments that are clean and include art, music and nature inspire creativity and help to secure man’s sustainability.

  6. Teaching and learning gardening is a necessary part of becoming one with nature and the environment and is a means for personal health and community building.

  7. Celebrating local culture and global diversity allows for a rich life.

  8. Practice Connect versus Convince; Exercise Compassion versus Judgment, Love versus Fear.

  9. Individuals practice being Ambassadors for their own country as well as a country other than their own.

  10. Co-learning demonstrates that every person is a teacher and every teacher is a student.

  11. Financial literacy fosters hope, belief and abundance as it facilitates a wise use of assets.

  12. Partnering and mentoring fosters interdependence toward building common ground, as in “the world agrees on time so everyone can communicate.”

  13. Holistic education explains that each event reinforces all. The pursuit of success and happiness, both individually and collectively, must include body, mind, spirit, health and wealth.

  14. Leveraging technology facilitates connecting people; personal contact is vital.

  15. World peace is a result of individual peace.

The Quintessential Teacher Training that will be delivered in Monrovia, Liberia August 19 to 21st was first taught on July 28, 2008 to 25 StarShine teachers. The focus of the training was to provide training for teacher’s individual, personal commitment toward body, mind, spirit, health, wealth and happiness and to give the teachers a foundation of support and vision for the change that they are creating within each of their students, as well as the world.

QTT has a proprietary and proven way to bring cutting edge solutions to administrators, teachers, volunteers or others who work, particularly in schools known for their high risk student population. Through reenergizing teachers, these students, in the US and around the world, are lead into the discovery and fulfillment of their very destiny. At the earliest ages students begin to live purposeful, passionate, prosperous…and peace-full lives.



HUB is to be on CNN!

CNN sent a film crew to feature Kimmie Weeks during the July HUB Purposing trip. The program, “Voices in Africa,” is projected to start airing worldwide on CNN towards the end of August 2009.

Kimmie has certainly become a major voice in Africa as probably the continent’s most acclaimed youth activist. Billboards with his picture and quotes to empower the youth of Liberia are located on road sides around the capital.

The feature was arranged by HUB UK’s Daniella Boutin and followed HUB and Kimmie’s YAI visiting multiple impact locations, as well as featuring one on one interviews. CNN is now in talks to produce a Social Enterprise program dedicated to the HUB business model.

Since its launch in 2008, HUB has attracted regular positive news features in the USA from FOX (Miracle on Main Street, Homeless in LA and The Obama Bracelet) as well as in Canada as HUB Calgary GAVE BIG

“As soon as we arrived in Liberia, Kimmie and I were featured on a 2-hour talk radio program across the country and then, after an initial press conference, HUB’s first year impact in Liberia was detailed prominently in the national newspapers. It is good to move from “we are planning” to “we have accomplished xyz and look forward to continued expanded programs,” states Charlie. ”The CNN pieces just continue to add credibility for our members to share HUB more effectively. Spryte and I were delighted to bring this attention to Kimmie and the extraordinary developments we witness in Liberia.”

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