ABOUT US

ORPHANS LEAD THE WAY

The Blood Diamonds war of Sierra Leone was infamous for child soldiers and horrific violence.  It not only destroyed so much of the country, but also traumatized the population.  The  United Methodist Church founded an orphanage to protect children during the War.  I ended up there unplanned, and while there I met orphan youth who had vision and hope waiting to be actualized.  Seeking to empower one of the orphan youth with an ambitious dream, some friends and I funded and organized the construction of homes for widows in his remote village.  When I went to see the houses, I brought the CRC youth with me to run a Vacation Bible School for the illiterate children of the village.  We all saw that these kids were missing an opportunity, a good education. So YVA was born by starting with the education of five village children.

Although we have fixed wells, opened a solar powered health center and helped protect the area from the Ebola epidemic, we have come to focus on empowering youth through education and God’s hope and compassion.  Our original scholarship program with the five children has developed into a comprehensive leadership and character development mission utilizing the village church community and weekly American mentor sessions. Our primary school has triggered amazing, un-looked for progress in attitudes toward girls’ education and in our focus on creative confidence through the arts.  Hoping to spread and share our work we brought a team of six Americans in 2016 and seven in 2017, holding medical clinics and school programs for the arts and English literacy.  At the request of the Muslim villagers, we started a church and in an amazingly courageous commitment, our board member Reverend Enid Benjamin spent five months in the village to encourage the church and the school.  Always though, we’ve been led and inspired by youth…their judgment, their vision, their ideas. Many of the orphans I met years ago have worked for us and now comprise our staff.

Young Vision Africa has always been about the vision of young Africans.

-Alan Chorun

OUR MISSION

Our mission is to empower young leaders in Sierra Leone to fulfill their dreams of helping and changing their country.  We would never make a pretense to be successful in this without the Grace of God, which we seek to submit to.  Whether it’s in our small room where our five high school boys grow, or in our crowded one-room schoolhouse, or through our young adult orphan employees, or through the commitment of weekly U.S. mentors and volunteers who break barriers by traveling to the ‘below third world’ of the Salone bush, we believe in humility, spontaneity and the future!

We are also a tremendous opportunity for any American looking to give to something hardcore, real and effective.  If you realize that you have a responsibility to help those in need, then you need to join us.

PERSONNEL

Meet our team that makes it possible.

Alan Chorun

Alan Chorun

Director/President

Alan Chorun has been an educator and pastor who’s led mission/service work in homeless communities in Manhattan, the Cheyenne River reservation, Appalachia, and New Jersey. He went to Sierra Leone alone in 2009 to see the country and volunteer with different development efforts for children and youth.  While there he met orphan youth eager to try to help their country.  That was the start of YVA.

Alan travels to Sierra Leone periodically to bring Americans to participate in YVA’s work, observe completed projects, and create/enhance new initiatives in conjunction with our staff and the beneficiaries.

 

Some of our Sierra Leone Staff

Abu Bakarr J.

Abu Bakarr J.

Intern

Abu grew up a war orphan in Salone. Having completed certificates in higher education, Abu joined the YVA family to facilitate communication between students and sponsors. Abu finds joy in his work, “ because whenever I look at the faces of the kids that are sponsored by Young Vision Africa I always praise God for his goodness. I hope through the grace of God to see these kids with good future.”

Malikie

Malikie

Intern Assistant Head Teacher

Malikie, teaching 2nd grade, has been serving the school since the beginning with sincerity, humility and reliability.

Princess

Princess

Intern Early Childhood Teacher/ Asst. Pastor

Princess is a born educator – naturally animated, creative and engaging. Besides that she’s fully committed to the work of the school.  She also serves as our worship leader and Asst. Pastor at our church, setting an example for our younger girls of an independent, self sufficient young woman.

Cutumu

Cutumu

Intern Teacher

Katumu has taught 1st grade for two years.

Kon

Kon

Intern Teacher

New to Tato, Kon comes on as the 3rd grade teacher.  Like most of our other staff, he is attending Teacher Certification classes through Freetown Teachers College (Distance Program).

Harry

Harry

Intern Teacher

Our newest teacher, working in Grade 1

Walter Thomas

Walter Thomas

Public Relations/Fact Checker

Walter is responsible for the accurate dissemination of fact based research. Through this research Walter has determined that Philsophy is the only solution for all of Africa’s problems and therefore President Trump, as a wonderful philosopher is the hope of Africa.

U.S. Personnel

Reverend Enid Brotherson Benjamin

Reverend Enid Brotherson Benjamin

Board Member

Reverend Enid has an amazing story of Providence in finding Sierra Leone and YVA. From Guyana, South America Enid has committed herself to YVA’s future, taking an amazing role in our April ’16 trip and blazing the trail of staying long term in rural Sierra Leone for 5 months in ’17.

Roy Martin

Roy Martin

Board Member

Roy is currently serving in the U.S. Military. Roy has always displayed an interest in philanthropy and mentorship. Traveling throughout the world to include places such as Israel, Hong Kong, Scotland, Malaysia and Bahrain. Roy has taken the opportunity to help wherever he could with community relations to improve the quality of life for those who are in need. Roy has earned a certificate in counseling and computers and is continuing lifelong learning studying accounting.  Roy was exposed to the YVA family through his lifelong friendship with Alan

Robin Ramey

Robin Ramey

Mentor/Educator/Leadership Team

Robin is a retired special education teacher and college professor of English. She has been involved with YVA since before it became YVA, sponsoring students, helping to oversee the school, sending materials. She’s taken one trip to Salone and has dealt with almost all our staff and sponsored students. She has mentored them, encouraged them and given them consistent attention. Additionally Robin is active as a fundraiser and has been a consistent and anchoring presence in YVA.
Sue Warnasch

Sue Warnasch

English Curriculum and Evaluation

Sue brings her expertise as an ESL educator along with an incredible creative ability to bring lessons to life in a country where there is typically no engagement in education. Sue works hand in hand with our teachers and puts a huge amount of effort into her weekly lessons. Additionally the wisdom and compassion she brings to the Leadership Team is indispensable to YVA.

Brian Olea

Brian Olea

Leadership Team

Originally from Argentina, Brian is one of the original LA members.  He came on our trip team to see his longtime mentee Richard.  Since then he’s been involved in our whole effort.  He’s sensitive to indiginous integrity and he kept the team laughing throughout the trip.

Cami Forero

Cami Forero

Leadership Team/Fundraising

Our youngest Leadership Team member engages in every aspect of working in a war torn and poor nation. Only those with real experience in this field would know how much courage that takes. That courage, which has been what’s needed for every point of growth in YVA, is very rare in adults let alone a teenager. On top of that Cami has the tenacity and initiative to create new fundraising for us. Raising money is an undeniable challenge and her success with it shows the dead seriousness of her belief in helping those in need. For these reasons and more we sometimes like to refer to Cami as ‘Force of Nature’!
Jo Lynn Robinson Deal

Jo Lynn Robinson Deal

Publicity/Leadership Team

A marketing professional with a heart of gold, JoLynn reached out to us all the way from Florida, with no connection at all, other then what she read about us. For this we are fortunate! Jo runs various aspects of marketing, gives us alot of good ideas and serves on the Leadership Team, dealing with the ins and outs of development work. Giving like that, and receiving nothing in return is the stuff of the altruism that is the final goal of our work in Africa.
Jessica Pak

Jessica Pak

Volunteer Coordinator

Interfacing with all our new volunteers, Jessica is involved with most of the facets of our work. She has an incredible instinct for what’s important and what works for YVA – all her ideas for our people there seem to turn to gold. Representing a core group of important young yva educators and mentors, Jessica is proof that young vision in America can make a difference.

OUR PARTNERS