Greetings from Osu!

We are so excited to share our first newsletter with you! As this is being written, the children are getting ready for the first term exams, after a very successful and challenging fall term in Accra. We currently have 60 children attending school in grades pre-kindergarten to seventh, at over ten different schools in Osu and Accra. In January, another 22 students will begin school, bringing our total enrollment to 82 students! That is amazing progress in just two years! Additionally, there are over 40 more children from the surrounding neighborhood who are coming to Lilies in the afternoon following school, receiving help with their homework and school preparation. We are currently working to develop a more formal system of fees for those children, as we are finding this to be a great drain on our resources. But we continue to follow our practice of not turning any child away who comes to Lilies for help!

Please keep reading to learn more about some of our specific programs and successes of the past year. And again, thank you for being part of the Lilies family!

Meet David Acheampong – David was the first Lilies student to begin school in April 2016!

David and his family moved to Accra in early 2016. Shortly after arriving, David’s father was tragically killed in an accident, leaving David, his mother, sister and brother with no income or place to live. David and his younger brother Kofi began coming to Lilies each day, and David participated in the dance program. He worked very hard to learn basic reading, writing, and math, and was the first student to gain entrance into the government school for the spring term in 2016. David has continued to do well in school, and is setting a wonderful example for his younger brother Kofi, who also started school this past year. We are very grateful to Lyndsey Sweeney for her continued support of David’s education!

Lilies Dance Crew Wows Ghana Talented Kidz

Five of our talented dancers were selected from over 800 acts throughout Ghana to participate in the Ghana Talented Kidz competition on Channel 3, which ran from January-April. Miriam, Rukayatu, Comfort, Lydia, and Princess devoted hours of rehearsal each week to preparing traditional African dances for the judges. In addition to winning many of the weekly competitions for costumes and themes, the girls also were named Cultural Ambassadors for Ghana. Under the watchful guidance and direction of Joe Oko Adokwei and Lucy Noamesi, the girls consistently received high marks and positive feedback from the judges. Ultimately, they made it all the way to the finals, and finished in sixth place. We are very proud of the dedication and commitment that the girls made to this program, and their help in putting Lilies on the map in Ghana!

Lilies’ Plans for the Future

When Lilies of the Field Academy opened its doors in January 2016, it is doubtful that anyone would have predicted the unprecedented growth we have experienced in less than two years. What started with 24 children coming during the day to learn basic skills in reading, writing, and math is now a thriving after-school program reaching over 100 children from the Osu neighborhood. The children and their families have remained very committed to regular school attendance, which has allowed our students to thrive in both their daily work and on their exams. Many of the children remain at Lilies in the evening to participate in the traditional dance program as well. Our greatest challenge now is finding enough space for all of the children we are trying to serve. We have built temporary walls for the patio, so the older students are able to meet outside, leaving the inside space for the primary students. We are also working with a neighboring community center to share some of their space in the afternoons. The reality is we will have to try and build a new school building within the coming years. What a wonderful challenge to face!

Our immediate needs are the result of the increasing number of students. We have been very fortunate that the King of Osu has provided us with much of the basic furniture we use every day, but after almost two years of use, those tables and chairs are in need of replacement. We also need to purchase more whiteboards and basic school supplies, such as pens, pencils, paper, and notebooks. We have started a materials fund that we are hoping will allow us to purchase these items as soon as possible. We anticipate that this fund will need $3000.00 to meet the needs for the remainder of the school year.

Additionally, the larger number of students has meant that we have needed to find more teachers, both for our academic programs and the dance program. We currently have 8 teachers working part time, and we are committed to assuring that they receive a salary every month. Thanks to the generosity of some very special donors, we have started a fund to support those salaries. This fund needs $5000.00 to meet all of our salary needs for the remainder of the year. We are also very excited that our head teacher, Luigia Adjei, has been accepted into a teacher-training program that will meet for the first two months of the new year. Luigia is a naturally gifted educator, and we know this course will help her have greater confidence in her abilities.

How You Can Help

As detailed above, we are hoping to build funds for both the needed school supplies and the teachers’ salaries. If you visit our website, www.theliliesfoundation.org, you can donate directly to one of these funds. If you choose, you can also make an unrestricted gift. We also anticipate that there will be some more children looking for sponsors for the final term which begins in April, so if you want to have the opportunity to sponsor a student, that is also an option on the donation page.

Since we have received official designation as a 501(C)3 non-profit charity, your gift is tax deductible. Please consider an end-of-the-year donation to one of the designated funds, or an unrestricted gift. We promise you it will make a significant difference in the lives of many deserving children! And we also promise to be responsible stewards of your investment! 

A Very Special Thank-You to our Generous Donors

Kimberlee and Mark Aliapoulios

Amy Applegate

Raquel Aquilar

Beth Bailey

Amy Bauchiero

Carol Beitler

Mark Bellucci

Lisa Geiger Berman

Sari Biddleman

Fiona and John Bryan

Annie Carson

Massimilliano Cerulli

Rosemary Chandler

The Conrad Family

The Cunliffe-Peachey Family

Joanne D’Addario

Diana Deacon

Bonnie and Seth Desrochers

John Dixon and Lisa Tarzia

Carrie Dyball

Pia Eri

Carly Drew and Nakai Kulik

Stephanie and Juge Eagles-Fox

Explorica, Inc.

Kim Goodwin

Pam Gutaykas

Susan Hinrichs

David and Heather Holinger

Joan Hovda

Teresa Hulvey

The Islam Family

Christa Johnson

The Kalill Family

Chelsea Kane

The Kinne Family

Lorraine and Tom Kitts

The Kreuger Family

Gerry and Nancy LaPlante

William McCartney and Jo-Ann Sternberg

Kaitlin McNabb

Jane Minehan

Mary Mitchell

The Morgan Family

Joann Moss

Kimberly Murphy

Jenny Neff

Nancy Nealon

Cynthia Niedbala

Bethany Niedbala

Caroline Skofterud Nilsen

Kathy O’Brien

Old St. Andrew’s ECW

Bryan Ouellette

Donna Evans Phillips

Adam Pistel

Marian and Nathan Powell

Donna Rabbett

The Reilly Family

Ani and Brian Resnick

The Ricke Family

Pat and Rachel Roulet

Amy Samenuk

Alexis Sarris

Heather Schonrock

The Selvitelli Family

Daryl Sewell

Jen and Tod Shestok

Pam Sinofsky

Lindsay and Bennett Sweeney

Bill and Mary Ann Tortolano

The Tosone Family

Karen Vernola

Brett and Milly Vianney

Ali Vietch

Kyle Vigneault

Jackie Williams

Drew and Janel Willmott

David Yordy

 

Some Photos from Lilies!