At Play & Learn, we believe in well-rounded after-school and weekend programming that ensures our participants are developing various skillsets, as well as having fun. The four pillars of PAL programming are: Academic Support, Athletic Training, Mentorship, and Community Outreach. We believe that these complementary programmatic areas allow youth to develop both the hard and soft skills needed to become leaders in their local and global communities.
Children work with international tutors 2 days per week for 1.5 to 2 hours per session. The small group size (no more than 4 children per tutor) ensures that tutors cater to individual ability levels and that each child is able to receive one-on-one attention. Tutors are encouraged to use innovative and fun teaching resources and techniques, in order to keep students engaged and curious. Tutoring sessions focus on English language development (specifically reading and comprehension), development of creative and critical thought (using creative writing, poetry, and debates), as well as general homework help (maths, sciences, etc.).
In Ghana, as in many other parts of the globe, football serves as a medium to overcome any number of social, cultural, and class barriers. As such, football is at the heart of Play & Learn. Many of our youth are extremely talented footballers and PAL coaches work tirelessly to ensure they are challenged in their athletic abilities. However, football also presents an excellent opportunity to work with children on developing a number of important life skills, such as teamwork, time management, discipline, respect, communication, and leadership. Coaches work equally as hard to ensure these skills are being transferred to our players in all sports training sessions. PAL participants train twice per week, with an additional training session on Sunday when in preparation for a match.
PAL's Nkonsonkonson Mentor Programme works in two stages. First, a group of interested adolescents work with international volunteers for one semester (4 months). During this time, mentees are encouraged and supported to: analyze the impact of the PAL program on their lives; improve their comfortability with public speaking; recognize their strengths and weaknesses; identify short-, medium- and long-term goals; and identify specific areas of interest (whether that be an academic field, trade, art space, etc.). At the end of the semester, mentors create a profile for each child and PAL subsequently identifies a local professional mentor to take on the second stage of the Nkonsonkonson Mentor Program. In this second stage, mentees are paired (for a minimum of 6 months) with an individual who has the knowledge and experience to support and guide them towards achieving their goals in their identified area of interest.
Through PAL’s Yaa Asantewaa’s girl empowerment program, PAL will begin engaging our girls (students from UG (local & international and their mentees - less privileged girls from Okpongolo) twice a month in clinics concerning a wide range of women’s issues. We believe that empowerment is a crucial aspect of an individual's development, especially when it comes to lifting someone out of poverty. It is something that does not only aim at narrowing the inequalities between men and women but also expanding the power base of women. We are focused on building awareness about discrimination and women’s rights as well as expanding skill development and women’s involvement in typically male positions, such as politics and decision making. We aim to make these girls aware of their abilities and worth as well as give them a threshold from where they can take off. This program will provide participants with the necessary skills and tools to be able to truly feel empowered from within and navigate through this society where the odds are typically stacked against them because of their status as women. The duration of the program yearly will be 6 months, will take place yearly and would educate these girls in topics relating to:
PAL works with and supports other local organizations on a variety of community outreach activities. To date, these have included a community walk to encourage local community service ('Walk for Love' event) and meal distribution to homeless individuals in some of the most underserved areas of Accra ('Street Love' project). Participating in community service work allows PAL youth to practice respect and tolerance for all people, as well as develop an understanding of the importance of contributing to your local community.
The Play & Learn Foundation works to empower Ghanaian youth through a combination of academics, athletics, mentorship, and community contribution to develop the skills needed to become leaders in their local and global communities.