Thursday, April 8, 2010
The Don Yannizzi Memorial Christian Academy is a ministry of the Bible Believing Church, Inc. Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa. It is established to build Kingdom builders by helping to develop the most precious resource - the youths, in order for them to make positive impart in their generation by being Kingdom Builders as they are building their nation. To be Kingdom builder, one must know and have royalty to the King! The DYMCA, therefore, provides holistic education for this life and the life after for the youths of Liberia, West Africa, and through them to minister to their families.
Liberia, the first African Republic (1847), is a country about the size of Ohio, located on the Western cost of Africa and sandwiched between the predominately Islamic countries of the Ivory Coast, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. It lies closed to the equator, therefore, the climate is hot and humid. Temperatures can rise as high as 120' F (49' C). The Atlantic Ocean forms Liberia's western and southern coast. Liberia's land area is estimated to be 43,000 sq. miles with a population of about 3.5 million. The official Language (taught in Schools) is English. However, there are sixteen ethnic groups speaking over 30 different African Languages. Animist 50%, Christianity 35%, and Islam 15%, are Liberia's three major religions. Illiteracy rate among the older population is about 75%.
The Civil War
Already a poor country, the fourteen year civil war (1999 to 2003) witnessed the death of over quarter million people and left the country in total ruin. Liberians are beginning to rebuild their lives against odds to include lack of jobs, abject poverty, and daises. The youths are adversely affected. Many were abused and misused as "child soldiers" for whom hardly anything is being done. Schools are reopening to include public school. However, public facilities are limited and cost of private institutions are in many instances beyond the means of the ordinary unemployed Liberian family. Many aged children, therefore, are not in schools, a challenge to, not only Government, but also the Church.
BBC Christian Education Initiatives
To help meet the challenge, the Bible Believing Church, Inc. in the post war era established schools aimed at developing young minds with character to be productive in society. BBC established an Elementary (K-6) School near central Monrovia and a High School (K-12) in the Paynesville suburban community of Monrovia. All, like everything else in Liberia, were devastated and the properties looted during the war. As peace was gradually restored in Monrovia, the Elementary School was re-opened. During the Missionary visit of Rev. Jallah to Liberia in 2007, formalities were completed at the Ministry of Education to pave the way for the reopening of the High School.
Renaming the School - Don Yannizzi Memorial
One of the many benefits of Rev. John K. Jallah ministry in Philadelphia was his association with individuals very serious about serving God. Since 2000, he serves as Associate Ministers at the New Fellowship Baptist Church with Senior Pastor Vaughn B. Wilson. Also, for a few years, he served as Associate Minister at the then Southside, now Valley Baptist Church with Senior Pastor, Dr. Sal Yannizzi. During his service at Southside, Pastor Jallah became Victory Prison Ministry partner with Rev. Don Yannizzi, Sr. the late father of Pastor Sal Yannizzi. I saw commitment to service to God at its best; qualities I desire to incorporate in my ministries and to install into the youth of Liberia. I, therefore, felt led by the Holy Spirit to seek ways and means to maintain contact with the Yannizzi family and ministries. We contacted the Yannizzi family and obtained permission to renamed the High School in sweet memory of the late Don Yannizzii, Sr. The School has been running since 2008/2009 School year.
In this (2009/2010) school year, the student population has increased to 140, praise God! This is, however, about half of the facility capacity. Also, about forty of the students are on scholarship provided by the Jallahs and few friends. Many students are on waiting list awaiting for us to raise fund to offer more scholarship. It cost about $200.00 a year per student to include, tuition, available books, uniform, and the school meal program which many days, is the only mean a child may have for that day. Also, we are renting some one's private house - two story concrete building, to host the school. $50,000.00 (US) is needed to build our own facility. The very urgent need right now is scholarship and other donations to raise the $25,000
20/10/2011 School budget that begins in September 2010. Also needed urgently is $6,000 to ship a 40 foot container of school and church items donated by the Valley Baptist Church through the Yannizzi family.
If Jesus tarries, and He continues to show us favor in His service, future plans are to also name the BBC Christian program (K to 12 & a Bible College) in Don Yannizzi Christian College. Mrs. Jallah and I will donate 100 arces of land located in Lofa County, some 300 miles away from Monrovia in the interior of Liberia for the purpose. We will appeal to the Yannizzi family and ministries to which they are connected to help us raise two million US Dollars for this five year expansion project.
Pray for Ann and me to raise support to relocate and maintain ourselves in Liberia within the shortest possible time in order to personally direct the ministry under Christ. The Ministry consist of administering the Bible Believing Church of three congregations, a nation-wide and possibly to include neighboring countries Evangelistic Ministry and Church planting. Oversight of the Christian Education Program, and its expansion to a Bible College. It also include directing the relief Ministries which goes beyond emergency relief to the self-development of people to reduce poverty by helping them to build wealth by providing small capital and technical support for micro-businesses and indigenous industries. The ministry also include the development of and support of ministry leaders - Pastors, Evangelists, and ministry support staff. All these sound like a lot and indeed great, but our Lord has done more and indeed our GOD IS GREATER!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
David Z 82 "Before attending the Agape African Senior Center, my wife (78) could hardly venture outside. One day, we strolled to the Street corner of our block in West Philadelphia. Walking back, we could not recognize our row house entrance. All the houses on the blook look the same and we did not know number neither would we be understood to ask passer-bys. Embarrased and worried, we did not know what to do. After long time of waiting and walking up and down the block. one of grandchildren coming from school recognized us and congratulated for walking out independently. She laughed when we told her we werelost not unknown we were standing almost before our door.
After few months at the Center, we can now go by ourselves, to neighborhood shops supper markets, and also to visist friends".
Mary W: "Rev. I dialed the phone by myself" screamed Mary, 67 after few months at the Center, joyfully telling the Center Director how she made her first independent telephone call. The hard work she and the volunteers at the Center put in the Survival Skill Class learning how to use the telephone, and other skills, has paid off. Her daughter, "V" rewarded her by installing her own phone in her room!
David W: Testify in class; "I'm now able to travel independently by SEPTA, go and pay my utilitiy bills, use Western Union, and go to appointments on my own. Thanks to the good work of the Agape African Senior Center".
"Peter S": "All this for me?" Peter 81, asked in amezement when the PCA Emergency Fund Coalition to which he as been referred by the Center for fan in the summer heat, received not fan, but had an aircondition installed in his room. In addition, safety bars were installed in his bath rooms. peter was a client at the Center now in rehab.
These are, but few testimonies heard from senior clients themselves and these are what keep us doing what we do. Real people are being helped!
Thursday, March 11, 2010
"And of some have compassion, making a difference" (Jude 22)
The vision of the Agape African Senior Center is to make a difference, by Divine Love, in the lives of the poor, venerable, disadvantaged elderly to ensure graceful aging.
Success or realization of our vision is measured by:
- How the aging, people with disabilities, and their families who may be disadvantaged linguistically, economically, socially, and culturally are attaining, not just an increased, but also, equal access to services and resources to live independently as any other American.
- How they are developing advocacy skills, not just on their own behalf, but also, on behalf of their community to include causing laws and policies they may deem discriminative to be changed or revoked, and
- How, they are, either independently or as part of a coalition(s) or groups, chryste for social change that ensures equal access to the American dream.
We believe in the achievement of our VISION through Divine love, since God Himself is LOVE through efficient implementation of designed program. Partner with us!
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
The Agape Africa Senior Center, Inc. is established to help, in a culturally sensitive manner, low-income, disadvantaged, grossly under served seniors, especially elderly African and Caribbean refugees and immigrant to combat the acute isolation they encounter linguistically, economically, culturally, and socially, thereby hences their independent living and promote their self-esteem in this their new country, the USA.
The Center achieves it Mission through various self-developmental activities to include but not limited to the followings:
- Facilitation of peer support groups
- Spiritual enrichment and counselling
- Provision of instruction in English as a Second Language (ESL), Adult Literacy, Health Literacy, Financial and other literacy program.
- Training in Citizenship, dissemination of immigration information, and conduct citizenship test preparatory classes.
- Training in survival skills to include use of the telephone, travel by SEPTA, safety and how to obtain help in emergencies.
- Job preparation, job search, job placement and facilitation of self-employment.
- Community out-reach, information dissemination, advocacy, and referral services i.e. Health care, to include clients without health insurance, immigration, not only to connect clients to community services and resources, but also, to ensure that they access services to which they may be entitled and for which they may be qualified like any other aging Americans.
Needs Being Addressed:
The last two decades, especially, has witnessed the influx of West African refugees into the United States of America due to arm conflicts, political prosecutions, and economic hardship that has engulfed that area of the world. A large percentage of these new Americans estimated (2000) to be about 50 thousand have resettled in the Metropolitan Philadelphia and nearby suburbs.
Among these new Americans are their youths and the elderly. The Youths though also challenged, are immediately absorbed in Schools, relatively easily learn English and some basic American self-assertive lifestyle and move on. The Adults are overly occupied working around the clock to keep roof over their family heads, Educate their children and improve themselves. African and Caribbean senior citizens on the other hand, most of whom are challenged linguistically, socially, culturally, and economically, are usually left idle at homes behind closed doors, usually unable to relate to anything like fish out of water!
Inability to speak American Standard English, they are unable to communicate or relate to neighbors or the wider community even communicating to health providers are awkward at best. They are unable to travel on SEPTA independently, unacquainted with safety procedures or how to seek emergency help. Unable to to understand or be understood in English, inability to live independently, or advocate on their own behalf, unaware of the numerous aging programs, resources, and benefits, they are unable to independently access benefits to which they may be entitled and for which they may be qualified. They depend on their adult children or relatives who are overwhelming occupied by putting food on the table, for everything!
Their heavy accents, and/or native Caribbean and African tongues, lifestyle, dress code, and skin color set them apart and may make them believe that they are being discriminated against.
The Agape African Senior Center is uniquely and strategically designed to intervene in a culturally appropriately manner. Our program and activities revolve around the needs and desires of the aging clients themselves thereby in some way experiencing the empowerment and prestige they enjoy in their native countries as the fabric of society.
Agape is not attempting to reinvent the wheels. In fact , it is lubricating the gears for the smooth turning of the wheels by providing preparatory activities for thees new Americas to be able to independently access services and resources to which they may be entitled and for which they may be qualified thereby ensures that they are accorded equal treatment like any other aging Americans.
This self-developmental initiative by African and Caribbean refugees and immigrants ourselves, deserves yours and the support of all well meaning people.