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Touch A Life Announces New Executive Director

Jan Osborn with Gamale at the Touch A Life Care Center.

The Touch A Life Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Jan Osborn as Executive Director, effective May 1. Jan succeeds John O’Toole, who transitioned to the role of Chief Executive Officer at the end of 2016. Previously holding the role of Community Development Manager, Jan Osborn began volunteering with Touch A Life in 2012. As Legacy Partners, Jan and her husband Scott raised the funds to build Zachary’s House, a dormitory building at the Touch A Life Care Center in Ghana, in honor of their son. Jan provides support and leadership to Touch A Life’s Dallas-based team while also traveling to Ghana several times per year. “Jan has offered us her valuable experience in nonprofit leadership, and we are thankful that she has accepted this role,” said Pam Cope, Co-Founder of Touch A Life. “Jan brings such passion to our team. She also shares great insight regarding our donor outreach strategies and our program as a whole.”       Touch A Life is committed to developing creative ways to bring healing and empowerment to those who are suffering, exploited, and at-risk around the world. With a focus on West Africa, Touch A Life operates the only […]

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Eight Students Promoted to Year Two of Life Academy

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Last February Touch A Life launched Life Academy, a new program to provide vocational training opportunities and life skills development for eight young adults. These students were rescued from child labor situations along Lake Volta as teenagers, and now they are working toward independence. One year later all eight Life Academy students progressed to the second year of the program, focusing on specific career skills, mental health, and educational advancement. Nana, our Life Academy Director, held a special ceremony marking the end of the first year of Life Academy and gave each student a certificate of completion.     To begin the second year of Life Academy, the group met with psychologist, Dr. Rachel Pugh, to set goals for the upcoming year. Rachel will continue to provide weekly therapy sessions over the coming months to help each student overcome psychological hurdles from childhood traumatic experiences.     Another new expansion for the second year Life Academy is our new space. Touch A Life has rented a small space directly next door to Eunice, Life Academy’s Sewing Collective Mentor, and her established sewing studio. Renovations are almost complete! The space will include a sewing studio as well as an area that can transition […]

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Survivor Care After the Rescue: Remember

Almost two months ago Remember was rescued from a forced child labor situation along the banks of Lake Volta in Ghana. Since living at the Touch A Life Care Center, he has been learning to live in freedom with his new (big!) family.   Remember has been given medical treatment and he’s receiving private tutoring so he can learn to read and write. Like we see with many children from unstable backgrounds, he initially tested his boundaries in the classroom, but within the last week his teachers have noticed significant growth in his behavior and response to instruction. He has also bonded well with the other Touch A Life kids and loves to play after school!   We are so thankful for all of our child sponsors who make stories like this possible!

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Painting Projects in the Ghana Art Center

Each weekend the Touch A Life kids gather in Connor Creative Art Center for art classes and art healing sessions. Kwame, our Art Center Director, teaches classical painting techniques and traditional West African art styles. This month, some of our older students learned about creating shadows with color.           During a later session, Doris and Benjamin A. demonstrated their skills to the group as they finished up their village scene paintings. They carefully signed each piece and gave them to our team to bring back to the United States. Some of the artwork will be available at the Touch A Life Art Auction this fall in Dallas!           You can sponsor a Touch A Life child’s Art Healing programming for just $30 a month! Read more about becoming an Art Sponsor at touchalifekids.org/art-sponsorship.

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Sharing Culture through Archaeology

When Leah McCurdy heard that her mother would be visiting the Touch A Life Care Center in Ghana for the second time, she had an idea. As an archaeologist and lecturer at University of Texas at Arlington, Leah is interested in educating and benefitting the communities around archeological places, so her natural inclination was to provide a learning experience for the Touch A Life kids to learn about West African heritage. Over a year ago, Leah and several other archeologists began the Fajina Archeology Outreach. Leah explained, “Fajina is a modern Maya word that means communal labor. Members of a community give their time for the good of the community to make sure that everyone can benefit from working together.” While their primary work began in Belize near an archaeological site, Leah was happy to expand the program to Ghana. While at the Care Center, Leah’s mom, Sally, showed a video of Leah and her colleagues explaining the project and the Touch A Life kids were able to work on a coloring and letter writing project. The project included information about traditional West African dolls, fabric, colors, and symbols. The letters that the kids wrote will be delivered to children in Belize to share cultural knowledge. Leah’s […]

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A Party for Everyone

Earlier this year a team from Coppell, TX, visited the Touch A Life Care Center and threw two incredible parties! The first was a big birthday party for every Touch A Life kid. Since some children came to Touch A Life with no birth records, our annual party makes sure that no one is left out from the birthday fun.       The Texas team also brought supplies and gifts to host a staff-appreciation party for our Care Center’s hard-working houseparents, cooks, drivers, and maintenance team. We are so incredibly thankful for the Ghanaian staff that has sacrificed so much to create a loving home for every child being restored after exploitation. The staff party was a proper Texas BBQ in Ghana, complete with grilled chicken, red bandanas, and gift bags for a little pampering!           Thank you so much to the amazing travelers who organized both of these parties! If you are interested in volunteering in the US or Ghana, read more about getting involved.  

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New Child Rescued Rescued from Slavery in Ghana

  A 10-year-old boy has been rescued from slavery on Lake Volta and is now safe at the Touch A Life Care Center. Last week a boy named Remember was brought to our Care Center by Ghanaian Social Services. Just ten years old, he was reported to have been exploited and experienced the worst forms of child labor including slave-like conditions as well as physical and mental abuse. He also had no access to school or medical care. Now that Remember is at the Touch A Life Care Center, his wounds and medical needs will be treated, he will be given nourishing food to combat malnutrition, and he will be assessed by private tutors so he can begin attending school as he is able. We are thankful that Remember is now safe from exploitation and also for our strong partnership with the Ghanaian Anti-Human Trafficking Unit that working to eradicate child labor in their country. You can support Remember and other children like him by making a donation to the Touch A Life Care Center, which is the only long-term care facility for trafficked children in Ghana.

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Photo Essay: School Day

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A typical school day for a Touch A Life child is a far cry from the days of forced labor that shadow the past. Dressed in neat uniforms, carrying school supplies and books in new backpacks, elementary and middle school students spend the day at a private school near the Touch A Life Care Center. Photographer Nancy Borowick followed a group of our students through their school day and offers us all a glimpse into the true freedom of education.   This series is the second part of our education photo series. View the first half here.                                   Help provide education for a child rescued from labor trafficking by becoming a Touch A Life Education Sponsor.

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How to Make Education Sponsorship Work

If you want to become an Education Sponsor for a Touch A Life child, but need some help with ideas for raising the $125 each month, here are some great ideas that our team has seen from our amazing donors.     For more on becoming an Education Sponsor, read more on our Global Family page.

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Photo Essay: School Mornings in Kumasi

Baba walks up from the Care Center to meet the school bus.

It is Monday morning and school is on the mind of each child at the Touch A Life Care Center in Kumasi, Ghana. Photographer Nancy Borowick followed a group of Touch A Life kids as they prepared for a school day and boarded their bus to a private school in town. To these kids who have experienced forced labor, exploitation, and a life of slavery, school is directly equated with freedom and the opportunity for education is never taken for granted.                             Help provide education for a child rescued from labor trafficking by becoming a Touch A Life Education Sponsor.

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