Above photo: Emmanuel and Alyson Grunder, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia.
By Emmanuel G. Godfrey (YES 2015-2016, Liberia, hosted by AFS in Cumberland, ME)
My name is Emmanuel G. Godfrey and I am a 2016 YES alumnus from Liberia. I am also an alumnus of the Workshop for Youth Leaders in English Teaching (WYLET). Since I returned home in 2016, I have been actively involved with YES and WYLET alumni activities.
This year, I was one of the two WYLET alumni selected to volunteer at the 2018 workshop as an alumni assistant. As a WYLET alumni assistant, I had the opportunity to serve as a junior facilitator and give a presentation at the U.S. Department of State. Alyson Grunder, who at the time was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, was in attendance.
She was amazed at the work alumni are doing and how we are giving back to our communities. I was excited when she told me that she is proud of me for what I am doing and that we should keep in touch. She later told me about her change in assignment and that she has been assigned to serve as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia. Our paths would cross again soon!
In August 2016, I created the Workshop for Effective English Teaching and Speaking (WEETAS) a program that promotes learning and teaching of American English. Currently, the program benefits about 1600 people.
My tireless dedication to alumni activities and my desire to help others has brought me great recognition. This year, I was awarded a WYLET Alumni Grant for the third time, helping me to implement the third phase of the WEETAS program. This phase aims to benefit every student and teacher living in Liberia. The third phase of the WEETAS project, held at the American Center at the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia, helped young teachers incorporate technology into their classrooms. The program was recognized by the Public Affairs Officer of the U.S. Embassy, who was also impressed by the initiative.
Alyson Grunder, who is currently the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy, paid a surprise visit to the program. She was amazed at the success of the program and made an encouraging statement that greatly inspired WEETAS participants. Though she had a busy schedule, she was patient enough to accept and answer questions from participants.
I am truly grateful for all I have been exposed to and the great people I have met. My participation on the YES Program was never a mistake, instead, it is the Big Bang of my life.