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Atlanta: Dr. Lauretta Will Foundation hosts awards banquet

2 December 2009 at 22:49 | 672 views

During the past five years, from 2004 to 2009, Dr. Lauretta Will (top photo), an Atlanta-based Professor has collaborated with colleagues and organizational associates to collect and donate over $100,000.00 worth of educational materials to post-war Sierra Leonean academic institutions. The donated materials included university and high school textbooks, sets of encyclopedia, children’s books, Christmas toys Holy Bibles, lecture materials and school supplies. Since the end of the war, Dr. Will has undertaken relentless text book drives and other educational materials and has annually traveled to distribute to war-victim students in her native country of Sierra Leone. She has successfully coordinated her affiliated institutions, colleagues, family and friends to accomplish her educational philanthropic projects.

According to a press release from the foundation, Dr. Will’s Vision of creating educational access to underprivileged students around the world led her to recently launch her non-profit organization, the “Dr. Lauretta Will Educational Foundation Inc.” which is committed to impacting academic lives of underprivileged students and teachers in Africa, Third World countries and underprivileged inner city students who have been devastated by extreme poverty and wars. Our mission is to gather and distribute educational materials including college textbooks, children’s books, school supplies, technological resources including lecture materials and other necessities as well as professional expertise.

The Dr. Lauretta Will Educational Foundation held its first annual Awards Banquet in Atlanta on November 9, 2009. Dr. Peter Correa, President of American InterContinental University (AIU), in his keynote address, renewed their commitment to continue to encourage donation of educational materials to Sierra Leone academic institutions.

The Will family

During his speech at the first annual DR. LAURETTA WILL EDUCAITONAL FOUNDATION INC. Banquet, he commended the founder, Dr. Lauretta Will, for creating the opportunity and assured her of AIU’s full support. He reminded the audience that the generation born after 1980s should not be denied technological resources in their technology-based world, in which baby-boomers are virtually just invaders. He lamented the banquet program picture which depicted hundreds of Sierra Leonean students from Dr. Will’s alma mater who have never touched a computer. He challenged the audience of reverse that projection to better news from Dr. Will by next year 2010.

Dr Correa receiving his award from Dr. Lauretta Will.

In her Vision statement, Dr. Will thanked everyone for their support. She reminded them that her Vision was to provide educational resources to underprivileged students in Sierra Leone, the same way American missionaries provided the same privilege during her growing years in Sierra Leone. She revealed that her one-year Goal was to establish a library to give her donated books more structure, her 5-year Goal was to establish a Science & Technology Academy, and her 10-year Goal was to establish a University of Science & Technology that would be equivalent to American InterContinental University and the best in West Africa. She also shared that she would like the 2010 Book Drive to be larger than previous years and encouraged everyone to join her cause in the upcoming year. She invited volunteers, donors and ideas to make her Foundation serve a larger georgraphic zone including other regions of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, Jamaica and underprivileged inner-city Atlanta neighborhoods.

It’s the turn of Dr. Ferguson to receive her award

Some of her institutional donors who contributed to the 5-year (2004-2009) Educational Project included the following:

American InterContinental University, Atlanta Georgia
Fresh Anointing International Outreach Ministry, Montgomery, Alabama
Day of Change International Outreach Ministry, Stone Mountain, Georgia
Living Word International Outreach Ministry, Sumter, South Carolina
Women of War International Outreach Ministry, Atlanta ,Georgia .

Dr Hickman receiving her award

From 2004 to 2009, several Sierra Leonean news media covered the donation ceremonies. Addressing one of the news conferences at Njala University, Freetown, last year Dr. Will revealed institutional beneficiaries of her donations including:

Fourah Bay College through Professor, Dr. Thomas Yorma
Njala University – Professor Alpha K. Lakoh, Acting Deputy Chancelor
Sierra Leone College of Law, Freetown through Mr. Osmond Hanciles
Bonthe Technical Institute, Bonthe “ “ “
Centennial Secondary School, Mattru Jong through Principal A.A. Barrie
United Brethren in Christ (UBC) Mission schools, churches and hospital. Eleven barrels donated through Bishop Billy Simbo
Moyamba Disadvantaged Children’s Home, Moyamba
Jonathan’s Orphanage Home, Bo via UBC’s Bishop Billy Simbo

Vice President Dr. Mallory with her award

Dr. Will’s greatest passion, according to the release, has been to empower students with the appropriate educational tools and resources due to the fact that some students were adversely affected by the country’s ten-year devastating war. Receiving donated items on behalf of Njala University College, Professor Alpha K. Lakoh, Acting Deputy Chancellor, underlined that the college is immensely indebted to Professor Will and her partners in America for the laudable gesture stressing that the donated educational books and other items, which he described as important, are vital to the academic pursuits of students in addition to pleading with Professor Will to further assist the college with test books for the MBA Programme. Vote of thanks was rendered by Mr. Osmond Hanciles, Principal of the Bonthe Technical College who also benefited from book donations.

Professor Diana Robbins receiving her award

Donations at Centennial Secondary School over the years were received by the Principal, Mr. A.A. Barrie with his entire faculty. The Principal and Vice Principal expressed their gratitude to Dr. Will and her colleagues in the United States and promised the books will be appropriately utilized.

Most of the Moyamba Orphanage Christmas donations were stolen, but the balance toys and books were distributed directly to the children.

Dr. Will lamented that some of the shipments were pilfered by thieves at the Freetown port and appealed to government to put stringent measures in place to reverse the trend that has the tendency to discourage these types of projects. Over the years, some of the donations were covered by local Sierra Leonean newspapers including the following:

THE NEW CITIZEN, Wednesday, May 13, 2009 edition

PREMIER NEWS, Wednesday, May 13, 2009 edition

PREMIER NEWS, Wednesday, May 13, 2009 edition

EXCLUSIVE, Wednesday, May 20, edition

NEW CITIZEN, January 7, 2008

November is always recognized in the United States for Thanksgiving. The “Dr. Lauretta Will Educational Foundation Inc,” therefore took advantage of the mood and hosted an “Awards Banquet” to recognize all the academic donors which included the following:

American InterContinental University, Atlanta Campus

Dr. Peter Correa, President on behalf of Dr. Katrina Mallory, Vice President of Academic Affairs

Dr. Florence Ferguson, Program Chair – School of Criminal Justice

Dr. Joy M. Richmond, Program Chair – School of Business

Dr. Dixie Hickman, Faculty – School of General Education

Tanya MacNeil, Program Chair – School of Information Technology & Game Design

John Oxley Howard, Faulty – School of Information Technology & Game Design

Yetra Bellamy, Director – Information Technology Dept.

Lisa Matthews, Faculty – School of General Education

Dianna Robbins, Faculty – School of General Education

Living Word International Outreach Ministry, Sumter, South Carolina
Dr. Annett West – President

Day Of Change International Outreach Ministry, Stone Mountain, GA
Apostle & Pastor Kimberly Jones

Suga’ Momma Family Child Care Services, Lilburn, GA
Kemocka Hamilton & Marilyn Mixon, Owners

Fresh Anointing House of Worship, Montgomery, Alabama
International Outreach Ministry – Nieasha Dixon

Women of War International Outreach Ministry, Atlanta, GA

Evangelist Carol Cain