To develop and maintain the programs at Daraja Academy, we need not only an expansive and talented staff on the ground, but also a network of strong support from The Carr Educational Foundation. The Carr Education Foundation headquarters are located in California and the mission of the foundation is to create sustainable educational models in struggling communities. Daraja Academy is it’s first project.
Mark Stefanski served on the board for the Carr Educational Foundation for 3 years. He began his journey with Daraja when he brought students from the school he teaches at, Marin Academy, to visit Daraja and experience campus. Mark led 2 trips to Kenya with Marin Academy and along with visiting Daraja on his own or with his Wife, Johanna, many times. Not only is Mark an incredible inspiration for the Daraja girls, who look forward to his every visit, but he also played a major role in the development and execution of the Transition Program curriculum.
Although Mark’s time with the Carr Educational Foundation board has come to a close, here at Daraja we never say goodbye, only see you later. We have no doubt that Mark will stray too far from Daraja and girls will still look forward to every interaction we have with him.
“Mark has supported me through my education at Daraja,” reflected Shamsia, a fourth year student, “He is one of my closest friends. I miss him when he is not here so much.” Shamsia is sure that her bond with Mark won’t weaken, despite Mark’s departure from the board and her upcoming graduation next August.
This past August, Mark visited Daraja to help with the Transition Program that he worked to develop with the board. The girls loved the insight that Mark brought to the program with the Daraja Quest activity (I will link to the post about this) and his encouragement to value their individual passions.
When asked to reflect on her experience working with Mark on the Transition Program, Carol’s face lit up, “He was so great,” she explained, “He was excited and full of great ideas. The girls look up to him so much and they were always excited to see what he would teach them next.”
In addition to helping with the Transition Program, Mark also helped teach the students about composting and ran an activity with co-founder, Jason to put together a new compost pile for the garden on Daraja’s campus.
Although we are sad that Mark will no longer be serving on the board, we can’t wait to see what things he will go off to accomplish in his future ventures. Remember, it’s not goodbye, it’s see you later!