When we started:
The Inspiration Schoolhouse Project is a program developed to help schools in struggling communities and developing nations. This growing program initially started out with the intention of helping one school get off the ground in a developing community in Liberia, West Africa. While in Liberia, it was evident that much more needed to be and could be done. I ended up working with two schools, Johnson Early Learning Center and The Cedar School, and with a children’s educational game show program, The Billy Brain Competition. All three organizations were struggling, yet determined to help students and families in need. During my time in Liberia, I was able to use the resources donated to train teachers, supply the schools, teach over a hundred students, and motivate and mentor brave young academic contestants.
Growing to Guinea:
After leaving Liberia and before returning to the U.S., I traveled to Guinea. I traveled to Guinea to support and study under a Guinean teacher, Fode Lavia Camara, who resides in the U.S. He was back home in Guinea to host a festival created to honor his father, the highest elder of his community, the ancestors, and cultural traditions of Guinea. While there, after having been away from home for so long, Fode learned that a lot had changed since the time he grew up in Guinea. Many of the Guinean masters of West African drum and dance had left to perform and teach in the Western world, relying on their successes abroad to support their families back home. However, this left very few teachers to pass on traditional culture to the local youth. We knew something had to be done and this is how the forth program, Bayiby Cultural Arts Academy, became part of the Inspiration Schoolhouse Project. The Bayiby Cultural Arts Academy will be the first school of its kind, intended to bring together the best Guinean instructors, locally and from abroad, to pass on the historical knowledge and cultural traditions of Guinea and West Africa. This school promises to be a cultural hub where local children and young adults can study at little to no cost; bringing the international and local community together to preserve the rich musical, artistic, and oral traditions and histories of the people of West Africa. The team of directors for the academy is already working with many well-known artists and instructors who are excited and grateful to be a part of this vital program. Together, we are developing programs of study to help local Guineans. However, a designated place of study is essential to this program’s success and endurance.
What we're doing now:
The Inspiration Schoolhouse Project has already helped three organizations either get started or regain footing and now we need to help this next school get off the ground. The ultimate goal of this program is to give schools the assistance they need to become self-sustainable and we want the Inspiration Schoolhouse Project to grow to be a part of many more struggling communities around the world. That is why we do not just provide financial assistance, but we also provide assistance with school supplies and teacher and administrative training as well. Current funds raised will be utilized for our work in Guinea, providing support for the construction of the Bayiby Cultural Arts Academy.