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Schoerke Foundation

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Community Stories

14 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I taught math and reading at Heritage Academy. These schools do more than just teach - they inspire kids to achieve more! Also, the chicken and pineapple were sooooooo good.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Heritage Academy is one of a few schools that offers an excellent, fair and progressive education to children in Ghana. The teachers at Heritage are dedicated to inspiring and empowering their students, and the children are eager to learn and aware of the importance of a good education. As a privileged American, I found that my time at Heritage Academy was a truly eye-opening experience and would urge anyone who can, to travel to Ghana and experience what I did for themselves. If you cannot go to the school itself, definitely consider a donation, so that the school can continue to grow and take in more students.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The experiences and the connections I made at Heritage Academy were unforgettable...especially since the people I met in Ghana were undoubtedly the kindest people in the world. I still regularly get letters from my students, who give me updates on their lives and proudly tell me how good their grades are. These kids are very bright, kind, charismatic, and charming. In a country where corporal punishment is still commonplace, Heritage Academy is a safe haven for the students. There is a reason I went back twice (so far!). Heritage Academy is unlike anything else…the kids are wonderful and the country is amazing. Several of my students “adopted” me into their families…so now I have several new brothers and sisters.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daughter, Sophie Garner,, who graduated from the Quaker school Westtown in 2012 has participated in Heritage School programs in Ghana, in part supported by the Schoerke Foundation, three times during 2011-2012. The experience for her has been transformative, and for me as her parent, rewarding to observe. Volunteering at Heritage Academy has changed the way Sophie views the world and her place in it. She appreciates things that previously went unnoticed, and no longer takes for granted what Americans have come to expect as a birthright. The experience at Heritage Academy was one of the most valuable things to have come from her education at Westtown.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a graduate of Heritage Academy in 2007, my encounter with the Schoerke Foundation has been life-changing. The seven principles of Heritage Academy: Knowledge, Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Discipline, Hard Work, and Simplicity have brought me far on my journey as a scholar and a person. I am currently a student at Franklin and Marshall College, PA, and I plan to go back to Heritage Academy to volunteer next summer as I have in previous years. I believe in the school's mission and I thank the board of Schoerke Foundation for sponsoring so many students at Heritage Academy with scholarships, grants, and finantial aid.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have experienced a lot of good things in my life at Heritage Academy. I attended the school from the 4th grade until I wrote the national exams this year. I will graduate in one month on August 4th, and I am happy and sad at the same time because this is a very special and interesting school. The teachers are good, lovely, kind and so respectful. I like how they teach and corporate with the students to make learning easy. I have seen the learning in other schools and we do far better--I really appreciate the good work of the Heritage staff.

The best thing that happened to me at Heritage is when we had a stay-in at the school while we were preparing to write the Basic Education Certificate Examination (national exams). We had a lot of time to learn whilst the teachers were doing their best to assist us with our learning.They give us explanations when we don't understand something and also gave us a lot of class work and class tests to check our understanding and how our studies was going. They always wished for the students the best in life, beyond the examination. Their kindness make me feel very happy so I want to stay at Heritage always without going any other school again; but I must move forward to fulfill my dreams.

Another wonderful thing is that I like Heritage a lot because of the Schoerke Foundation volunteers that visit the school to teach us in the second and third term. They have done a lot of great work but the most important thing Schoerke Foundation is doing for my school that I really like, is the scholarships they offer for the student until university level for the lucky students. I pray that God would help and bless Mr.& Mrs. Koomson and their friends at Schoerke Foundation to do the good things they are doing for the school and the people of Heritage Academy.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first became involved with the Schoerke Foundation when I agreed to volunteer teaching a summer school class at Heritage Academy in Ghana in the summer of 2011. Prior to going, I learned all about Schoerke's mission of supporting access to progressive and empowering education in Ghana, and realized that they were very well organized and had a great partner school in Heritage Academy, the place where I had the opportunity to teach. I was so impressed once in Ghana at the work that was going on on the ground. I had the opportunity to interact with the kids directly and both see and hear how their lives were being impacted through the effective and accessible education provided by Heritage, which Schoerke supports. The kids were happy, proud, and significantly further ahead academically than the other scholarship students who came to the summer program from neighboring public school.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I graduated from Heritage Academy in 2007 on a Schoerke Foundation scholarship and worked as a teaching assistant for two summers in order to give something back to the younger students. I had an amazing experience at Heritage and learned new things about myself ... and made some great friends. I think this is an opportunity for me to say a massive 'THANK YOU' to Madam Melissa and everyone at Schoerke Foundation for helping me and so many young people to get a better education.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My three weeks spent at the Heritage Academy included some of the most eye-opening, inspiring, and life-altering moments of my life. I taught neuroscience to 10th grade students and guided younger students (~4th-6th grade) in reading English. My 10th graders frequently asked intelligent, intriguing questions and showed genuine interest and attentiveness. The younger students consistently came running to the Reading Tent when it was time for reading, and not one gave up even when faced with the hardest of sentences. These students have a passion to learn and succeed as I have not seen anywhere in the U.S. However, as much as these bright students love and value education, many of them would not have had such an opportunity had it not been for the Schoerke Foundation. With its growing reputation for academic excellence, each year the Heritage Academy faces an increasing number of parents who want to give their child such a uniquely valuable education. Unlike public schools and other private schools in Ghana, the Heritage Academy places girls on equal standing with boys (it was the first school in its district to start several girl-only sports teams); it corrects the wrongs of students not by caning (a common method of punishment in Ghanaian public schools), but by teaching the students a strong value system; and, unlike most other schools in Ghana, it shies away from memorization-based academic success and encourages students to be passionate innovators and thinkers. However, virtually all of the Heritage Academy's students are partially or entirely supported by scholarships given by the Schoerke Foundation. Without these scholarships, many of these children would not go on to secondary school, or even finish primary school. Please, PLEASE just take a few minutes of your time to learn a little more about the Schoerke Foundation. It is a wonderful organization that enables bright, eager young Ghanians to receive a uniquely modern and well-rounded education, so that they may make a real difference in their community, and hopefully someday, in their beautiful country of Ghana.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I came to Heritage Academy as a young teacher in 2008. At first I was just glad to have a job, but soon I realized I had joined a nation of determined activists who were and are still doing everything possible to change the world, starting with the right to a good education--regardless of one's background. I am so happy that my experiences have helped developed The Reading Club and I have established a Writers' Club as well. Great people, amazing staff, excellent students - and a better future anticipated for all of us! Go Heritage! Go Schoerke Foundation! More power to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

If you want to see grassroots efforts to change the education system of rural Ghana, then support this organization. The next great leaders of Ghana and Africa are being trained by this organization, which funds a private school in Ghana, near Cape Coast. I personally know that the staff of this organization work tirelessly and selflessly to enable Ghanaian children to perform well on the national exams, which gets them in the door to a university-level education, a rarity for the rural poor. Your donation is certainly not a handout; rather, it is a ticket to open a world of possibilities for bright, yet low-income Ghanaian children.

Review from Guidestar

Will11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began volunteering for the Schoerke Foundation in July of 2011, and it has been an incredible experience. The foundation’s main operation has been the founding and supporting of two schools in southern Ghana. I had learned of the foundation through some of my former teachers at the Westtown School, and I applied for and received a grant to work at one of the schools in Ghana, the Heritage Academy.
One of the most wonderful aspects of Schoerke is that its volunteers can make the trip their own. I was required to teach two classes of students, but I could teach on any subject that I wished. I spent June of 2011 developing a course entitled African History through Art. It reflected a combination of my interests in history and art, and it was a mixture of lecture and hands-on art by the students. Although this was a new course, the foundation was enthusiastic about my plans, and it did everything to accommodate my classroom requests.
Travelling to Ghana, becoming absorbed in Heritage, and working with the students was an inspirational experience. The impact that Schoerke has made in these children’s lives is monumental. I was consistently impressed with the motivation, creativity, and curiosity of my students. They had a strong desire to learn and grow, and were always supported by a community of caring teachers. Schoerke and Heritage are giving these kids the tools they need to improve their lives, and the motivation and empowerment to do so.
My course ran smoothly and successfully. My students were excited to have an American teacher, and intrigued at what I had to show them. They actively contributed in class, and produced creative and beautiful artwork.
Through volunteering with the Schoerke Foundation, I felt as though I directly contributed to an important and innovative educational program. I returned to the US with a new understanding of Africa, poverty and education, and new interest in international development. This path is taking me back to the Heritage Academy this summer, and, I hope, on many more adventures there and beyond.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I thank Madam Melissa, Mr. Ortman, Mr. DeGraft, and all the people at the Schoerke Foundation for supporting Heritage Academy. I live in Tema, a big city in Ghana. And as everyone knows, the best schools are in the city, right? So when I got the chance to visit Heritage Academy--which is in a small village, I didn't expect much at all. But from the moment I entered that school compound, I knew I was in a special place. The buildings are not beautiful like my school in the city but the feeling of Heritage is very sweet and happy. I have been going back to Heritage Academy every summer for the past three years. I always talk about Heritage at my school in Tema; and some of my school mates think I am a fool to spend my vacation time in the village. But every year, as I step on the sacred grounds of Heritage Academy, I know I would leave at the end of summer with a huge smile on my face and happiness in my heart. Even though I am one year younger than all the TAs (teaching assistants), I have learned all the hard courses already so this summer I will be a TA in a business or comprehension class. At Heritage, I've learned how to treat everyone with fairness and respect, and always expect the best from people. Heritage is a school of integrity, principles, happiness and learning. I love this school...and Schoerke Foundation too!

Emmanuel Kusi

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Back in 2007, when my 16-year-old granddaughter Rosie asked me to spend 3-1/2 weeks teaching in a school in Ghana, I agreed despite concerns about how well a septuagenarian might fare in primitive living conditions. Turns out, I fell in love so certainly and so deeply that I returned in 2010. What’s more, I partnered with Rosie’s parents to bring one of Heritage Academy’s students, Sarah Nyame, to America for her high school education. Sarah is now an honors student in the nursing program at Immaculata University.
Heritage is a Pre-K through 12th grade school in a tiny village in the central region of Ghana, where its founder, Kwesi Koomson, grew up. Its buildings are an abandoned factory with no electricity or running water. It doesn’t look like much, but the school has something that Oprah Winfrey’s palatial edifice in South Africa may never achieve: it is on a rapid path toward sustainability. Kwesi and his wife and philanthropic partner, Melissa Schoerke Koomson, know in their hearts the importance of grass-roots growth when it comes to education. The Schoerke Foundation is the entity that supports the Heritage Academy, and other schools like it, in Ghana. The Foundation is entirely volunteer, including its Board of Directors. All contributions go directly to the benefit of the students – for scholarships, lunches, summer school programs and infrastructure. Parents are totally dedicated to the continuing growth of this school which enjoys a 100% pass rate on the national exams. Approximately a thousand people attend the graduation ceremonies, two of which I experienced, and what joyful and wonderful experiences they were.
But the deep love of learning that shines in the eyes of the youngsters is the reason I believe in this extraordinary non-profit organization. Five years on, I am still receiving letters from girls and boys who were my students. They tell me, “I will never forget the lessons you taught me, and I will never forget you.”
I write back and tell them the same thing, for they have forever changed my hope for the future of the world.

Review from Guidestar