A Family Commitment to PG


Kelly Pearson

Kelly Pearson, longtime supporter of PAMBE Ghana, recently spoke with Judy Federa and Jane Wheeler about her work with PAMBE Ghana and other organizations as a “professional volunteer.” An Oklahoma City native, Kelly and her husband Paul have two children, Emily and Evan, still at home and two adult children. When Emily came along, Kelly decided to get out of the 8-5 rat race in order to spend more time with Evan and Emily. This gave her more time to volunteer in the community and put her strongly-held beliefs about “giving back” into action.

Judy & Jane: How did you first become involved with PAMBE Ghana?

Kelly Pearson: Emily was in Alice’s class at Westminster School. We were looking forward to Evan being in her class the next year, but were surprised when Alice notified us that summer that she wasn’t coming back for the fall session. However, the reason was intriguing: she wanted to go back to Ghana and start a school.

Nicole Bondurant (former PAMBE Ghana Board Member) and I decided to help with her project. We made a pact: we were going to jump in just to get our feet wet. PAMBE Ghana offered us the chance to do things that we hadn’t done before.

J & J: How did your work evolve?

KP: We had a family meeting and decided that we wanted to consistently support PAMBE Ghana. After we decided on an amount, we committed to an annual donation for 3 years. Then, 3 years turned into 4. Then, I was asked to join the board. I’d never done any fundraising, but started just doing it. I didn’t have any experience in retail either, but I decided to volunteer full time at the Global Market so it could be open in Midtown during the weekdays. The family supported PAMBE Ghana too; Paul set up tables at events and Emily continues to volunteer at the Global Market. My older daughter, Kiley helped design the PAMBE Ghana logo and helped with the newsletters and graphic design for many years. At the time, I was only working with PAMBE Ghana, but later I started working on the the Edgemere School Project, devoting half-time to each project. Later, I found I was working mostly on Edgemere School, so I decided to resign from the PAMBE Ghana Board to work exclusively with Edgemere School.

J & J: Why did you decide to contribute so much to PAMBE Ghana?

KP: One reason was our kids. They both have an ancestral connection to Ghana. We wanted to show that even though they are being raised by white parents, we acknowledge their background and culture.

J & J, What has it been like to start at the first of the project and then see it mature?

KP: When you start a project and it grows, you see the real benefits. With PAMBE Ghana it was the benefits to the children. It means that all the time spent went to good purpose. The best part of volunteering is seeing something grow. I don’t want to waste the time I have on the planet. I want to be useful.

I feel it is important to spend some time giving back. Some people give dollars; I give me. It is rewarding to work toward a goal along with like- minded people.

J & J: What are some things you are proud of or things you learned?

KP: I am proud of getting Heritage Hall involved. It was really more Emily than me. Emily was studying celebrations in first grade. She asked her teacher, Delaine Evans, if she could bring Alice to talk about the Fire Festival. The teacher was quite happy to have Alice come. Mrs. Evans got very excited and suggested that they start doing the annual first grade art show as a fundraiser for PAMBE Ghana.

Another thing was working with the Bricktown Rotary. We went to give a presentation and didn’t know what to expect, but immediately afterwards, a woman walked up and gave us a $100 check in memory of her mother. She gave us a check every time we came. Their involvement has continued throughout the years and they have even partnered with the Rotary in Ghana.

During my volunteer time with PAMBE Ghana, I learned so much about fundraising, public relations and retail by just jumping in with both feet and learning along the way!

Donate Today

Your Donation Today Will Help PAMBE Ghana Provide:
-- Teacher's salary
-- Children’s health insurance
-- Montessori materials
-- Teacher education

PAMBE Ghana is a 501(c)(3) registered charitable organization.