Empowerment Through Education
Grace Lyimo (Mama Grace) is the local liaison for EdPowerment Inc.'s initiatives in the Moshi and Arusha areas of Tanzania. For years Mama Grace has been an advocate for impoverished families and those struggling with disabilities in Kilimahewa and the surrounding villages. She has held administrative positions for Cross Cultural Solutions and for the Peace Corps in the region. Mama Grace, who has degrees in nursing, midwifery and public health, now serves as Director of Connects Autism Tanzania, a Tanzanian NGO that advocates for social acceptance and educational services for autistic children. As the advisor and counselor of Tomorrow's Scholar/Leader Sponsorship Program and the Kilimahewa Educational Centre, she acts as a mother to many youth and young adults - in addition to her own four children.
Stacey Lauren combines a career in business and education. Since 2006 she has had a private practice in New York City, providing academic support and teaching organizational, planning and study strategies to middle and high school students with working memory and processing challenges.
Previously Stacey spent ten years in marketing at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and before that she worked as a healthcare consultant in the operations improvement division of Coopers & Lybrand, where she handled the Memorial Sloan Kettering account.
Stacey’s interest in and commitment to the academic success of youth facing personal or environmental challenges led her to volunteer with EdPowerment in the summer of 2013. In the U.S. she serves on the Board of the Bronx Charter School of Excellence. Stacey holds a B.S. in communications and political science from Northwestern University, an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a MA in Elementary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
EdPowerment Inc. is a social outreach, humanitarian organization formed by a group of educators, who volunteered with impoverished young people in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania, and their supportive colleagues in the U.S.
Thomas Kway (Tom), the Operations and Financial Administrator for EdPowerment in Tanzania, died tragically on May 26 after a very short illness. He was a key member of EdPowerment’s team since 2010, handling a multitude of tasks from monthly financial reporting and record-keeping to the supervision of our sponsored students. Tom graduated from Mafinga Seminary Secondary School, after which he completed motor vehicle mechanics and driving programs at Vocational Education and Training Authority, Moshi. Tom's motivation allowed him to gain computer and financial accounting skills, and his smile, easy personality and kindness made him a valued combination of big brother and parent to the youth we serve. We miss him dearly and are now regrouping to move forward despite our loss.
John Corbett has served as EdPowerment's Treasurer and as a Board member since 2010. John holds a bachelor's degree from Boston College and a J.D. from Columbia Law School and is a practicing attorney in New Jersey and New York. John has done extensive work in the areas of special education advocacy, women's and children's rights, veterans’ benefits appeals law and environmental preservation.
Moira G. Madonia has combined careers in business, financial writing and conference programming, and secondary education. After receiving a B.A. in history and English, she earned a Master of International Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. In her early career she worked in banking and finance in New York City and later combined her financial knowledge, organizational and writing abilities as a Program Director for Institutional Investor Inc.'s conference division.
After the birth of her three children, she changed paths, earning a secondary teaching certification, after which she taught and developed curriculum for a wide range of history and English courses. She served as English Chair at a private girls secondary school before leaving in June 2012 to devote all her energies to developing EdPowerment. She travels several times a year to Tanzania to monitor EdPowerment's progress, teach workshops, and learn how to better serve this community. At home she continues to guide Tanzanian management through Skype, while working to secure broader financial support.
Corinne McGovern (Cocoa) has served on EdPowerment’s Board of Directors since its inception in 2010. A lifelong Massachusetts resident, Cocoa has worked in sales for most of her professional career. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell and has served as an EMT. In 2009, Cocoa travelled to Moshi, Tanzania where she served as a volunteer through Cross Cultural Solutions. Since 2013, she has returned every January to assist in settling EdPowerment’s sponsored students in their schools for the year and to observe and evaluate first-hand the progress of EdPowerment’s other programs.
Jillian Swinford served as an Art Teaching Assistant at the Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School in Chicago IL from August 2008 to June 2013. She holds a B.S. in psychology with a minor in sociology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. In May 2011, she completed her Master of Art Instruction from Columbia College, Chicago, and now teaches at the Pulaski International School of Chicago.
In the summer of 2008 she and Kerri Elliott, with whom she had worked at the Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School, took a volunteer trip to Moshi, Tanzania. Several years later, she joined Kerri Elliott in a one year leave of absence to advance EdPowerment's programs in Moshi.
Jillian's creativity is readily seen at the Kilimahewa School where she organized students in the painting of a mural at the Centre's entrance. During the summer months, she leads special art activities at the Centre's camp. Jillian also assists in managing EdPowerment's website and developing our marketing materials and annual reports.
Kerri Elliott was a special education teacher at Antioch Community High School, Illinois, from 2007 - 2014, where she also taught global studies. She holds a B.S. in special education from Illinois State University and a Master of Education in interdisciplinary curriculum and instruction from National Louis University. She is a certified Learning Behavior Specialist.
In the summer of 2008, Kerri traveled to Moshi, Tanzania as an international volunteer, assigned to the newly formed community-based Kilimahewa Women's & Orphan's Centre for Education Centre (KIWOCE). So began her service to the disadvantaged and intellectually disabled youth in these villages. While still teaching in the U.S., she returned every summer to Moshi, and in September 2011, Kerri took a year's leave of absence to live in Moshi to develop EdPowerment's programs and strengthen local management.
In June 2014, she resigned her teaching job to move to Tanzania on just a living stipend for two years to implement the Rotary Global Grant that she secured for the Centre, as well as steer the transition of Autism Connects Tanzania to a registered Tanzanian non-profit organization. As of July 2016, Kerri accepted a full-time paid position as the Educational Lead for Silverleaf Academy in Tanzania, a project funded by a DFID grant. This position allows her to maintain a guiding presence for EdPowerment locally.
During Kerri's visits to the U.S., she works tirelessly to raise funding for EdPowerment's support of the Kilimahewa Centre and for Connects Autism Tanzania.