O Ambassadors @ (MS)²
O Ambassadors™ is an exciting new project of Oprah’s Angel Network. O Ambassadors is a school-based program that will inspire young people to become active, compassionate and knowledgeable global citizens. The program connects young people in North America with people around the world to create lasting change by working toward and exploring the UN Millennium Development Goal themes: poverty, education, health and sustainable development. Participants address problems such as hunger, poverty and limited access to education. I applied to the program, and was selected to become an O Ambassador, and to facilitate the program at (MS)².
Once we were given the word to begin the O Ambassadors program in January 2008, our members moved quickly to organize and execute our plans. Our girls immediately nominated and voted on their positions. Next, I gave the 6th & 8th grade students their African names that positively represent and inspire each student, (all of the 7th grade students already had their African names from my SS class.) Their next job was to name the club. After only 1 session with my S.I.K.A.! (after-school) curriculum, our girls came up with a wonderfully appropriate name for our club...all on their own. They enthusiastically announced that the name of our club is Africa's Voice! Alexis Franklin, a.k.a. “Ayira” (which is from the Luo meaning “The Chosen One”), explained that since no one hears the cries of our people in Africa, who are silenced through poverty and exploitation, our group is going to speak for them! With our inspirational name, the next day, we discussed our ideas for our personalized Africa’s Voice shirts with our heaven sent student intern, Oluwatoyin Pyne. On the back of the shirts has their African name, their chosen Adinkra Symbol and the name of their Adinkra Symbol. On the front of our shirts, we have the name of our club and material in the shape of Africa with silhouettes of African faces gradually getting bigger to give an echoed effect of Africa’s Voices. These faces are in different shades to represent the many beautiful shades of African people. We wear these to our fundraising events.
Africa’s Voice grows and learns together as we raise awareness in (MS)² about poverty, education, health and sustainable development in West Africa. Not only do we learn frightening statistics, we also learn the major roots and causes for the poverty, inequalities and injustices that exist in Africa and throughout the world. Through our awareness efforts like our thought provoking and engaging forums, assemblies and skits, our (MS)² community is learning why it is so important for us to achieve academic success and uplift people in the United States and around the world. In addition, with the help of Mr. Lester, we have established a relationship with a school in Lagos, Nigeria called Maryland Comprehensive Secondary School. We plan to maintain a meaningful pen pal relationship with students from their school. Their connections and assistance will help us sponsor an orphanage in a surrounding rural area of Lagos. Through our relationship, our students will share and develop entrepreneurial projects in West Africa that utilize our MATH & SCIENCE ingenuity to improve the conditions of the land in Africa and African people. In fact, Africa's Voice! has recently been accepted to participate in the National Engineers Week Future City Competition, which we will use as a structured avenue to develop practical solutions for the horrendous conditions in these lands we call home.
Our O Ambassadors are growing, learning, applying knowledge and expanding their minds and comfort zones. Africa’s Voice is THEIRS, and they have assumed FULL responsibility for their involvement, representation and their future goals within our club.
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