Hi everyone! My name is Olivia and I am counting down the days until I get to travel to Ghana this coming May. I am currently a junior at the University of South Carolina where I am majoring in dance performance and minoring in biology and public health.

While in Ghana, I will be volunteering with the Akumanyi Foundation where I will be working in local medical clinics during the day, and spending time with the children in the evenings. During my two-month stay, I will also be assisting with other projects such as bringing clean water to a rural village, and finding sustainable ways to empower the women and children. When I am not working in the clinics or on other projects, I am planning to bring my love for ballet to the children. Not long ago, I was on Facebook and saw a video of children from the slums of Kenya taking ballet each week. The children had nothing, they were barefoot, dancing on dirt floors in a small space without mirrors or ballet barres.  Although materialistically they didn’t have much, the joy they had was evident. The video instantly started turning the wheels in my mind and I knew that this was something I had to bring to Ghana. I dance alongside amazing people each day who have generously donated leotards, skirts, and shoes that I will bring to the kids. What I love about dance is it has the ability to bring joy to people from all walks of life. I can’t wait to provide the children with an outlet to express themselves freely and who knows, I may be learning some new dance moves myself! I am very thankful to be working with a foundation that has brought immense amounts of joy and hope to the people of Ghana and has helped to bring my vision to life.

I am so excited and humbled to join the Live Like Ally family. There is no greater honor than getting to carry on Ally’s incredible legacy.  I never had the pleasure of meeting Ally, but I know that a part of her will be with me on this journey. Her story has inspired me to not hold back, to go outside of my comfort zone, and to never doubt your ability as a single individual to make a big impact. If we could all love people with even half of the heart that Ally had, I have no doubt that the world would be full of the good fingerprints Ally always dreamed of.

 

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