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African Community Learning Program Founder: “Thank you all for advancing our mission”

African Community Learning Program students, some volunteers, and librarians posing at the Blackwell Library after wrapping up students' Africa projects in fall 2017.

Six month ago on October 9, 2017, I launched African Community Learning Program with the support of many.Yesterday, May 6, 2018, we wrapped up our successful first school year with African Community Learning Program. So I wanted to take a moment to thank some of the many people, groups, and organizations who have helped make African Community Learning Program possible.

I thank my husband Abdoul Wane, our vice-president, for his consistent support on all fronts: family, school, and work. He has been my chief supporter throughout this journey!

I thank the Blackwell Library for partnering with African Community Learning since the very beginning.Their support with books and many other resources have been crucial for our organization as a whole, but especially for our Africa Curriculum. Special thanks to librarians Becky Shaknovich, Jessica Walker, and Nani Manion for their assistance!

I thank our volunteers for believing in our vision and mission, even before they became reality. Our volunteers have been the backbone of our work. They brought their hearts, minds, and energy in helping our students learn and grow. I am deeply grateful to our volunteers for their generosity! Thank you all: Hazim Hardeman, Aminata Traore, Hannah Piefer, Daniel Akuma, Carson Keller, Bryan Anderson-Wooten, Brianne Alphonso, Modupe“Funmi”Adetunji, Ezinnem "Zinny" Ugoji, Esther Baranov, Faith Carter, Chiamaka Sonia Okorie, Kwaku Quansah, Princess Aghayere, and Akudo Ejelonu. We couldn’t do it without you!

Aminata Traore (center), a Penn medical student and our volunteer, receives a volunteer certificate during our Africa Celebration at the Blackwell Library.

I thank Dr. Wesley Proctor for helping us legalize African Community Learning Program. We are now an official nonprofit organization with 501 (c) (3) status in the state of Pennsylvania!

I thank the University of Pennsylvania for our volunteers and the many resources available to me as a result of being a student there.

I thank the Penn International Relation Program for advertising our work in its early stages and advising me. Special thanks to co-director Dr. Frank Plantan, Prof. Mark Castillo, Prof. Tomoharu Nishino, and Prof. David Bowden.

I thank Penn LPS for publishing our very first story and for advising me. Special thanks to director Kathy Urban and advisor Jen Kollar.

I thank the Penn Women’s Center for supporting African Community Learning Program with volunteer meeting space and advertisement very early in our process. Special thanks to director Litty Paxton and coordinator Maria Acosta.

I thank the Penn libraries for their general resource availability, especially for the support of librarian Ancil George and digital designer William Hodgson.

I thank Penn English professor Lorene Cary for teaching our students about poetry and former Penn instructor Coleman Donaldson for teaching our student about the West African language N’Ko.

I thank Penn history professor Cheikh Babou and Penn history instructor Jeremy Dell for their support.

I thank Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship for having me in their Venture Initiation Program and for selecting African Community Learning Program as a 2018 Social Impact finalist.

Our team, Hazim Harderman (left), Aminata Sy (center), Kwaku Quansah (right) during the Wharton Startup Challenge, where African Community Learning Program became a 2018 Social Impact finalist.

I thank Penn Civic Center for partnering with African Community Learning to help with volunteer recruitment. I also thank all the following groups at the University of Pennsylvania for their help: Perry World House, Makuu, PASA, Africana Studies Department, and Kelly Writers’ House.

I thank Elhadji NDiaye of WURD’s Radio Xalaat for having me on twice to talk about our organization to an African audience.

I also thank the following media/ news organizations for publicizing our work: PABJ, The Philadelphia Tribune, University Review, Safe Kids Stories, The Daily Pennsylvanian, Penn News Today, 34th Street Magazine, Philly CAM, Philly on the Rise, The Philadelphia Citizen, WHYY, and The Notebook.

I thank Manuel McDonnell Smith for our NBC10 trip. This was a highlight for our students!

African Community Learning Program students tour the Philadelphia NBC10 station.

Many more people and groups have supported us on social media and in-person.Thank you all for advancing our mission to empower people of African background through learning. We are grateful for your contribution and for all the progress we have made this school year. To many more years of progress!

Aminata Sy is the founder and president of African Community Learning Program, a multimedia journalist, and a rising junior at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studies international relations and English.

African Community Learning Program educates, connects, empowers, and supports people of African background in West Philadelphia.

To support African Community Learning Program visit:

Email Aminata Sy at

Twitter @aminata2016


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