As part of our end of year campaign, we will be featuring posts from STS supporters. Some are board members, some are staff members, some are long-time STS supporters. Check back to learn about why and how people get involved with STS.
Below is a post from STS Vice Chair Jean Libby.
The story of my motivation to volunteer for School-to-School International begins in the 1960s during the American Civil Rights Movement and Freedom Summer. At the time, Stanford University was a focal point of the movement. University faculty, staff, students and the Palo Alto community were providing the largest national share of bail money to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund for civil rights advocates jailed in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Georgia—including many of their own students. . I participated as the Public Relations officer of the Palo Alto-Stanford NAACP branch by producing a mimeograph newsletter and press releases that informed the 1,000 local members and Silicon Valley journalists about Freedom Summer activities.
I completed my own university education twenty years later across the San Francisco Bay at the University of California, Berkeley. It was the 1980s and the Anti-Apartheid and South African liberation movement caused UC-Berkeley Regents to vote to end the university system’s investments in South Africa. The movement brought about a profound cultural shift.
At UC-Berkeley I majored in African American Studies, which substituted African History for the traditional European and Classical regimen. While there, I decided to associate with the newly created Joint Berkeley-Stanford Center for African Studies. The Center was started in 1983 to support the growing African student population and academic programs. Today, I bring my 30 years of involvement with the Joint Berkeley-Stanford Centers for African Studies to the School-to-School International Board of Directors.
School-to-School International pioneered its Whole Child Model in the flagship location of Guinea, West Africa. The Whole Child Model is a holistic, broad-based set of cooperative interventions that establish the conditions of success for children in school. Students who are successful in the classroom bring skills home and form the foundation for their communities’ development. Through the Whole Child Model, we have found that providing one bag of rice a month to a rural family has the power to enable a girl to learn reading and mathematics by relieving her domestic chores. She learns good nutritional and health practices for the rest of her life. We have found that one community-built well can have resounding impact on the entire community. We believe one health-monitoring kit per school delivered by local STS staff and teachers can help break the chains of the Ebola epidemic if delivered quickly and methodically. I believe that trust in the capabilities of the people to develop an infrastructure for their needs will reduce dependence on government and foreign aid.
The new are not yet born (African proverb)