For the last 5 summers the core team of Becki Neumann+, Bruce Neumann and Zach Neumann have been traveling to Ghana with adult and teen volunteers to run a Reading Camp. The camp targets children who are struggling to learn to read in English–not their native language. Not only is learning English a struggle but learning to read without books is also a struggle. Ghanaian Mothers’ Hope provides books, learning materials, lots of love, and encouragement. We work with Ghanaian teachers to be sure that the children understand and get the most out of the program.
At first we questioned the choice to take 14 year olds with us to Ghana but during the last five year we have seen amazing transformations not only in Ghana but in our teens when they return. Most of the teen have been recruited from the Virginia Beach area thanks to Zach Neumann and Lark Spur Middle school. These young students go on to high school and make a difference in the world. Last summer two of the teens took it upon themselves to sponsor preschoolers in St. Paul’s Preschool, giving a gift that will live on forever.
In an effort to know them better before traveling all the way to Ghana, I ask each teen to answer the following three questions:
- Why are you going to Ghana?
- What do you hope to learn from your work in Ghana?
- Tell me about your family.
- What do you do for fun?
- What school will you attend in Sept. or what is your profession?
Meet Three of our teens for 2014
JASMYN ALLEN–Virginia Beach, VA
Jasmyn is traveling with her mother, Althea, to work in the Reading Camp.
- I am going to Ghana on a missions trip to help children at a reading camp. I’ll be able to help kids in more ways than one…Plus, I’ve never been out of the country.
- I hope to be more appreciative of what I have.
- I have an older brother who will be going to college this fall, a younger sister and two parents.
- For fun I like to read books, play video games, talk and hang out with my friends and watch You Tube videos.
- I will attend Salem High School Visual Arts Academy in Virginia Beach with a concentration in Theater.
EVAN TROULAND — Bel Air, MD
Evan is my nephew who has listened to my stories for the last 10 years. Last fall when he turned 14, Evan decided it was to time to go to Ghana.
- I am going to Ghana because I’ve always wanted to go and help kids strive to learn.
- I want to learn to be thankful for what I have and how to speak a new language.
- I love my family. I have a sister named Avery. My mom is named Lara and I can’t live without her. I have a dad named Kyle that I love very much. I look up to him and appreciate all the things he does for his business and for our family. I also have a pet dog named CC and my cat Bayley I love her so much even though she is not with me any more.
- I play four sports: ice hockey, basketball, soccer and baseball.
- I will attend The Highlands School in September 2014.
JACKIE COATES–South Riding, VA
Jackie is one of our two returning teens. She traveled with us in 2011 and has decided to go back.
- It’s easy to stay in a place where you’re used to, but by doing that you don’t gain a worldly perspective. Going to Ghana challenges me to see an experience that I don’t see often.
- Since this is my 2nd time going I want to see the progress that has been made in the villages and catch up on some people.
- My parents got married right out of college in their very early 20s. I am the first of five kids and I’ll tell you it’s never boring. My four younger brothers have very different personalities, but all come together for the passion of video games. My parents have been married for 18 years and hope to have many more to come.
- For fun I mainly write and think about the world around me.
- I will be attending Freedom High in September and wish to get a technical engineering degree.
These are just 3 of the 7 teens traveling with us. What a priviledge for me and the other adults traveling to Ghana. We will watch 7 teens mature and change right before our eyes. Be sure to read the blogs and watch them with us.
I will be in Ghana on Tuesday next week.