African Library Project

ALP’s Mission and Volunteers Energizes New Staff 

demetra 1 cap

Thanks to a three-year grant from the Enlight Foundation, ALP now has increased resources to engage youth from ages 5-25 in organizing book drives and spreading the word to other youth. Two new staff members, funded by the grant, are working full-time to develop and implement our new program: Demetra Mack, Program Manager, and Robyn Speed, Business and Community Development Manager.

Both women come to ALP with a background well suited to engaging youth in creating libraries in Africa. Demetra has worked as a Community School Manager, AmeriCorps Recruiting Manager, Student Life Coach and After School Program Director, to name just a few of her youth-focused positions. Robyn has taught school and worked as an educational consultant in Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia. Most recently, she worked as the Workforce Developer and Gender Advisor for DAI, an international development company based in Accra, Ghana.

Robyn 2 capDemetra learned about the gift that books give at an early age. “I never knew joy and magic, until I read for the first time,” she says. “If I'm able to share such joy with others, why would I not?" 

She is motivated to recruit more book drive organizers between the ages of 5-25. It will not only expand the number of libraries ALP can create, it will also “allow young readers and future advocates to speak for students just like themselves.”

Demetra is leading our new team of college interns to develop our youth-led recruitment and engagement activities. “My desire is to ignite younger generations into continual community service... and serving the global community with literacy tools is such an amazing way to serve!" 

Like Demetra, Robyn is motivated by the work that ALP is doing. “I was initially attracted to ALP because it has such a clear and purposeful mission that practically addresses limited access to books in Africa, a challenge I saw up close while working on the continent.”

Her most immediate focus is creating youth-specific branding and marketing materials for ALP’s core youth segments. She hopes to place youth voices and perspectives as the forefront of ALP outreach efforts. She intends to use social media and online campaigns to increase our reach and engagement. 

After working for ALP for only a month, Robyn has gained a greater appreciation of its work. “What really blew my mind (and continues to) was that all this fantastic work was being done by this army of passionate volunteers who were raising kids and going to work and taking care of their families and living life yet still found time to help this massive project succeed. Year after year. Shipment after shipment. 

“Since working at ALP, I've learned that it is this unassuming kindness and commitment to get up and do something to help others (and its ability to teach young people to exemplify the same) that makes this organization one of a kind.”

January 2018