Volunteers

Our volunteers come from various walks of life to give of their time and talents to assist the center as needed. We depend on them to help us accomplish our day-to-day and long-term objectives. We express our gratitude to each and every one of them, our past and our current volunteers.

Karen Adwoa Pomaah Akwaboah

Summer School Volunteer

I was born in the US to immigrant parents from Ghana. Ever since I was a child, I watched both my parents work tirelessly to achieve their goals of becoming nurses at different medical facilities. They’re an inspiration to me and also were an influence when it came to deciding the career I wanted to pursue, becoming a doctor. I remember I would constantly play with medical toy sets pretending to give people “shots”, hitting knees with the little reflex hammer, and checking hearts with the stethoscope. I’m a very empathetic person and I knew that I wanted to do something that was based on caring for others and possibly even saving someone's life. This goal of mine requires hard work, determination, and dedication but I’m ready for it. When I was in middle school and discovered what grades were and what they accounted for, I soon turned into a straight A/A+ student. I still maintain the same grades and I’m currently going into my junior year at Tyngsborough High School where I plan on taking classes such as AP Chemistry, AP Biology, AP Language and Anatomy to kick start my knowledge for my future college major. Besides school life, I am the oldest of 4 children with 2 brothers and a sister. It was up to me to take care of my siblings at a very young age, especially while my parents were working. This taught me many things but most importantly I learned how to take charge and become a leader. At this summer program, I want to use this skill to not only guide the kids in the right direction but to teach them to use their voice especially in times like these.

Jon Bishop

Volunteer Tutor

Jon Bishop is a campus minister and teacher at Lowell Catholic. He is also a published writer and poet. His first book of poems was released in 2018. He is looking forward to tutor in English language.

Gianna Branco

I went into nursing because I had a lot of mental health issues as a child that went untreated for a long time, so I decided that I wanted to become a healthcare provider in order to help children who are struggling like I was to get treatment. After I graduate, I’m going to continue my education and get a master’s degree in order to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner. I am so excited for the opportunity to work with the African Community Center and I know that we will do great things together.

Nneka Cullen

Volunteer

I have done various outreach within the Lowell community on behalf of the center, to raise awareness on the work that the center does and the resources they provide. I talked to parents (through outreach) about the Summer School program that was being done by ACCL, and I helped register students (mostly immigrant and refugee kids). I.also assisted in data collections and entry. I also did an outreach in Lowell Community Health Center to promote the walkathon event that took place September, and to also signup people to become members of ACCL. I was also one of the facilitators during the summer school program. I helped mostly with English classes and reading. With the help of another volunteer (Kripa), I was also able to teach the students about mediation skills using role plays I also assisted with the making of a survey with the help of other volunteers and Mr.Halm. The survey was carried out during the African Festival and it's still being done. I also participated in the walkathon in September and I was one of the the guest speakers at the cultural exchange night in November, which is a new event hosted by ACCL. I also attend meetings with Mr.Halm and on behalf of the center (usually write the minutes) and give feedbacks on the meeting to the Executive Director. Also, I did a write up on the diplomatic visits to the center. when Hon. Kankam visited, one of the member's of parliament in Ghana. Lastly, I also represented the center, as a volunteer for Lori Trahan's campaign (now congress woman).

Molly D’Innocenzo

My main area of focus as a Nursing student at UMassLowell is pediatric nursing. As a childhood cancer survivor, I hope to one day provide quality care and comfort to my patients. In my free time, I run Club Hope, an organization to help those impact by cancer at UMASS Lowell, and DJ at 91.5 WUML. I’m very excited to work with the ACCL this semester!

Rachel Gillis

I grew up in Franklin, MA and currently live in Lowell.  I will be graduating in the Spring of 2022. Then I will be moving on to complete my master’s degree and become a Family Nurse Practitioner.

Dr. Favorite Iradukunda

Dr. Favorite Iradukunda is an Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research focuses on fostering health during pregnancy and motherhood for Black immigrant women who experience the intersection of home and host cultures, while reinforcing protective cultural practices and supporting the development of community-based, culturally appropriate interventions for health maintenance. Dr. Iradukunda received her Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She holds a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Cape Town and a BSN from the University of Rwanda. She believes in the urgent need for transforming nursing education to address health disparities.

Dr. Iradukunda’s work with the ACCL involves collaborating with the center on projects to improve health outcomes in the community. She is also interested in mentoring high school students and other community members interested in pursuing a career in healthcare or furthering their nursing education.

Rhoda Kaddu

Intern

My name is Rhoda Kaddu and I was born in Uganda. I was introduced to the African Community Center of Lowell through the internship program at my school. I always want to give back to my community. The ACCL has given me the opportunity to help my community and create an impact. I want to continue to use the nonprofit world to combat the injustices around me.

Celestina Livigha

Summer School Teacher

Celestina Livigha is a professional teacher with 9 years of experience, she teaches English as a foreign language in a  community ward school in Tanzania with students age range from 13-17 ,She volunteered as an instructor in the Access Micro scholarship program sponsored by Department of State from 2016-2018 which gave an opportunity  to be nominated to participate in Pan African Youth Leadership as a mentor in April cohort 1 in 2018 and get the chances to visits different places such as  Martin Luther King memorial, CNN, in Georgia, Washington DC and attend the workshops at University of Texas.

Chi Anestin Lum

Summer School Teacher

Chi Anestin Lum is a teacher of English and French as foreign languages with the Ministry of Secondary Education in Cameroon. She currently serves at Government Technical College, Ndimi situated some 180km away from the capital city of Cameroon. Her hard work has earned her both national and international awards such her participation in the Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement program in Spring 2021; her designation as TransformELT`s Model Teacher, in 2020, which led to her contribution to the production of a video teacher training resource; her selection as Master Trainer for British Council’s English Connects project in Cameroon since 2019 and her participation in the Young African Leaders Initiative in 2018; amongst others.

Ashlyn Newell

I have been passionate about the health sciences ever since I was little, and nursing seemed to be the perfect fit for me. To me, nursing combines the ability to create deep connections with others while also promoting health and healing. I also grew up watching my mom in the nursing profession and she has been an important mentor in my life. Outside of school, I enjoy gardening, exercise and spending time with my family and friends.

I have always had an interest in woman’s health and pediatrics, so I am hoping to further explore those areas of nursing when I graduate. I am excited to work with ACC on our community project!

Cynthia Perrone

Senior Volunteer Specialist

I first met Gordon Halm in March 2018. I was with a volunteer from my program. I was so delighted to meet Gordon and hear about the ACCL. My Son is mentally challenged. Throughout his life I have advocated for him and individuals with disabilities, also their families. I am a firm believer of helping and guiding those who have a tough time whether it is someone with a disability, or entering into the US. Gordon advocates for African refugees that need some assistance. He gives them the tools to navigate their way to becoming successful students which leads to long term employment. His organization's Summer School program teaches children and adults basic English and other studies. Gordon's shared a story of his family pets, Parsley, Peep and Yame, I though it was so touching, and inspired me and his future volunteer to write a children's novel about this fascinating story of determination and survival, along with family ties and true friends. So we began to write the book, Parsley's Big Adventure. We experienced  a few setbacks. Therefore it took some time, but so very worth the many hours of hard work put into writing this great children's book.

I am extremely proud of being a part of The African Community Center of Lowell, and hope Gordon's dream of his organization's future will continue to grow beyond his expectations.