Ascend Together is a charity that has been operating for the past two years in The Gambia offering after-school programs to youth across the country. Our mission can summarized by the motto our students chant every day during our programs ...
“I take care of myself, I take care of my team, and I take care of my community”
We have chosen sports as the engine to bring power to this motto. Students who attend our program receive high quality basketball instruction from veteran coaches and tutoring focused on math and English. To access our target demographic of impoverished youth we offer our programs free of charge.
By choosing to make our afterschool program free to students and families, we rely on donations in order to operate. Luckily, a little goes a long way in The Gambia. It only costs $100 to provide 1 student unlimited access to our after-school and weekend programs for 1 year.
In order to meet our fundraising goals for the upcoming semester, we are asking for donations of $30. This amount will help cover the remaining operating costs and allow us to finish the semester strong!
I Take Care of Myself
Educational opportunities outside of public education are limited in The Gambia. In addition, due to many of the economic challenges facing the country, public schools receive very little resources. The inspiration for our mission was born from these shortcomings.
Our students share the dreams of youth around the world; to use education as a map to a better life. We provide focused tutoring and promote academic responsibility in our programs with this dream in mind.
Using sports as the hook to get our students back into the classroom we use creative lesson plans to try and demonstrate to our students that learning is not only important but fun. Our tutors develop strong relationships with students, enabling the tutors to cater to the students' unique learning styles. Our tutors emerge as an important source of support and empowerment for students as they navigate life.
I Take Care of My Team
We see team sports as an opportunity to develop life skills that are vital for cultivating healthy citizens. Gambia is a young country with thirty seven percent of the population between 13 and 30 years old. In 2016 the youth of Gambia took to the polls and for the first time in the country’s history they facilitated a democratic transition in power. Now, it is more important than ever for Gambian youth to continue developing the citizenship skills that will enable them to continue their exploration of the democratic model. These skills include, teamwork, communication, leadership, conflict resolution, discipline, and listening skills.
Team sports offer a great venue to practice and cultivate all of these skills as they are also critical for team success. We use a basketball curriculum that was created by the Seedproject in Senegal. This curriculum was created in collaboration with USAID and US Peace Corps and incorporates life skills into basketball training. Our coaches are expected to not only help a student build their jump shot but also to develop their ability to lead and support thier team.
I Take Care of My Community
Gambia is a country that is severely impacted by the migration crisis afflicting sub-Saharan Africa. Despite a population of only two million, the International Organization for Migration has declared the Gambia fourth in the number of migrants attempting to cross into Europe. This journey is not only detrimental to the individual who makes the trek, but to the entire community who continue to watch their collective potential slowly drain away.
Our goal is to address this migration crisis by giving students a safe place to explore and express their feelings about taking the ‘backway’ to Europe. We want our students to start viewing The Gambia as a community to be proud of, a community worth developing, instead of as a place to run away from.
We approach the issue of 'backway' migration from many different angles. Our tutoring sessions regularly revisit and discuss the issue. We seek out young entrepreneurs or success stories to come and speak to our students about the migration crisis and the potential in Gambia. Last summer we orchestrated a migration themed basketball camp in partnership with the US Peace Corps. Over 150 students came to play basketball and talk about the 'backway' to Europe. In hope of developing pride for the community our students participate in local service opportunities. We want our students to be proud to be Gambian and develop life goals that aim to give back to the community that raised them.
Join Our Community
Our programs are growing in popularity around the country. We have opened a new site called the Bakau academy and our weekly participation numbers are the highest they have ever been. We believe the energy is ripe for creating a youth community that can make waves throughout the country.
We would love to exceed our fundraising goals in hope that we can provide resources to our new programming site. In addition, we would like to explore bringing our programs to new schools. If you can afford to donate more than the $30 then this money can be used for these broader fundraising goals. Below is a short video about the students this donation would support. Please remember that no donation is too small. We can stretch US dollars in Gambia. We also love shares, Instagram, and Facebook followers.
For more information about us please visit www.ascendtogether.org
- James Wudel
- Benjamin Williams
- Caitlin Charles
Ascend Together, Inc.
Donations are 100% tax deductible.