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I am a Facebook hold out!

I have had a natural reluctance to share my comings and goings with the rest of the world. Maybe inwardly I am shy, but more importantly, I like to think that some part of my life and my family is sacrosanct and private, so I have no Facebook page.

Now I am a Facebook convert! This past March I went to Africa and worked in a school (African Dream Academy) right outside of Monrovia, Liberia. Founded by Reverend Samuel Enders, the school has been in operation less than a year. Since it opened in September, it has been a collaborative effort. Money has been raised in the US, much of it from Brick Church in NYC. The curriculum was designed by Dr. Lydia Spinelli of Brick Church in collaboration with the teachers in Liberia. The 140 lucky children who attend ADA do not have to pay a penny for attendance, uniforms, or lunch. In fact, it is the only school in Liberia that keeps the children until 4pm. Most other school days are only 3 hours. Many of the children are from families who are squatters, and all of the children are from very poor families who would not, otherwise, have the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic.

On March 15, 2013, Lydia, myself, and two remarkable teachers from Brick Church (Lucia and Jen), boarded a plane for Monrovia to bring our individual talents to the 6-month old school. In retrospect, I received more than I could possibly give in the compassion, kindness, and culture that make up the parents, teachers, and children of this community. Now, I want the world to know that we cannot be complacent bystanders.

There are beautiful, bright, and eager children who are craving to be educated. I want the world to know that there are children whose happiest moment is to eat an apple – whose saddest moment is to be continually hungry. I want the world to know that there is no running water, no heat, and often no fresh food in a place not so very far from the luxuries of our Western lives.

For a few pennies that we thoughtless discard or waste, we can make a difference. This is not a kum-bai-ya moment; this is a real moment in 2013 where global communication is as fast as talking to someone around the corner. As parents, the best way to teach empathy to your kids is by example. Please visit African Dream Academy’s website, http://africandreamacademy.org, and see what a few dollars can do for the kids that are going to be the leaders of the future.