Monday, January 19, 2009

Who are these people and what are they doing?

On February 3 a four-member LOEP teacher training team will travel to Liberia at the invitation of Rev. Emile Sam-Peal. He has asked for LOEP's assistance with a program to train teachers whose careers were totally disrupted by the long war in Liberia.

Beth Iden, Phylis Benner, Brenda Bernard and Emmalee Iden make up the four person team. We will spend eight full days training and working with administrators, teachers and students at the Lott Carey Mission School in Brewerville, Liberia.

Phylis and Emmalee are the teachers on the LOEP team.

Emmalee, a former classroom teacher and a founding member of LOEP, designed the original Mobile Classroom and Classroom-in-a-Box kits that LOEP has been sending to orphan schools in Liberia for several years. Emmalee met Rev. Sam-Peal when he visited Browntown Church during the last couple years of the war in Liberia. She was inspired by the commitment of teachers who with no materials, struggled valiantly to educate traumatized children.

Phylis has more than 40 years of experience in early childhood education and teacher training and her experience is broad and deep. Her experience includes training Head Start teachers, traveling with U.S. Dept. of education training teams internationally, and she currently teaches Early Childhood at the college and university level in Virginia. Working with information and input from Rev. Sam-Peal, she has designed a training program that will demonstrate the principles of learner-centered education for a child-centered school using the LOEP mobile classrooms.

Emmalee and Phylis met at Wolftrap Center for the Performing Arts when where they worked togehter there in the education department.

Brenda Bernard came to LOEP through her connection to Liberia and her work at CNN. Born in Liberia, Brenda has roots firmly planted in both the U.S. and Liberia. She lives in Atlanta where she is a CNN journalist and the mother of five children. In spite of her busy life, she has been a great resource to LOEP serving as a member of the board of directors. She has been the face of LOEP in Liberia visiting orphan schools, meeting teachers and students and strengthening the relationship between U.S. LOEP supporters and our partners in Liberia.

I am not a teacher and have never been to Liberia. What can I bring to this team? Well, somebody has to be the "gofer" and I am good at that. Somebody also has to "direct operations" and those who know me know I can claim experience there. My hodgepodge lifetime experience as a newspaper reporter, community organizer, administrator, fundraiser, Girl Scout leader and strategic planner may also come in handy.

We hope our friends and family will find their way to this blog and join us on an exciting journey to strengthen our relationship with our Liberian partners. We will make every effort to post regluarly with pictures and thoughts from Liberia! Please send us comments too!


  1. Good luck and many prayers are sent your way for a safe and successful trip. We are totally with you in spirit and know you will get so much out of this while you are giving so much.


  2. May you all have a safe and rewarding experience in Liberia.