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 one of them, whether they are ad hoc volunteers or continuing 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.
I am a Liberian-American and a life-long Lowell resident. My education began with CTI’s head-start program, which provided free Pre-K education to families in Lowell. I was educated in Lowell schools in my formative years and participated in Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell and attended the National Youth Sports Program (NYSP), a free summer camp hosted by the University of Massachusetts Lowell. I went on to attend UMass Lowell, where I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in legal studies. I am currently pursuing a graduate certificate in the Peace and Conflict Studies program at my alma mater. I enjoy jewelry design and other artistic endeavors such as photography.
I have experience in community outreach, peer mediation, cross-cultural mediation, speech writing, tutoring, and substitute teaching in the juvenile justice system. Through my course work in Peace and Conflict Studies program, I have gained working knowledge of restorative justice, diplomacy, international law, and conflict negotiations.
I am thankful to my parents, educators, community leaders and the faculty at UMass Lowell that have helped me grow as a student and as an impactful member of my community. It is an honor to share my knowledge and skills with the African Community Center of Lowell and with the greater Lowell community. I am proud to say I’m from Lowell and I look forward to helping the bourgeoning talent of Lowell’s immigrant youth stand and be counted as vital community members.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Financial Aid Counselor
My name is Nicolette Pinnock. I was born in Jamaica, West Indies. I moved to the U.S. in 1995 at the age of 15. I attended Lowell High school and then moved on to UMASS Lowell where I earned my B.S.B.A with a concentration on Management Information Systems in 2001. I started my Financial Aid career as a Financial Aid Office Assistant in 1998 at Blaine Beauty Career School that was located on Central Street in Lowell. In 2002 I moved to Boston to further my career in Financial Aid and to continue my education. I earned my Masters of Management Degree from Cambridge College in Boston in 2005.