Twenty-Something Volunteer Fully Engages in Service to the Community

Rachel Apple first heard about PAMBE Ghana three years ago while leaning over a cocktail table at a Ronald McDonald House gala, sharing getting-to-know-you stories with a fellow attendee. “It sounded like important work and it was the right time in my life. I figured I’d like to help,” said the Renaissance woman in her mid-twenties.


Rachel (l) with her sister, Rylee, at the PAMBE Ghana Fest

Thus began a wonderful relationship between Rachel and PAMBE Ghana. Well, Rachel and almost everyone she came in contact with. She’s a giving sort of person who doesn’t do things half way. Rachel started volunteering at the Global Market that fall, and brought several friends in as volunteers, as well. When we needed a photographer to document a fundraiser, she volunteered her services – she’d majored in photography and had a business doing photo gigs ranging from weddings to food spreads for magazines. She also proved a terrific bartender at the first PAMBE Ghana Fest, along with best friend Drew Apple, whom she married in 2011. And she helped launch our social media efforts. “I grew up in a church. It’s natural for me to do fellowship through service. When the Moore tornado hit, it wasn’t even a question of whether I would volunteer – it was ‘Where’s the volunteer center?’”

Eventually Rachel joined the PAMBE Ghana board. Although she didn’t know much about education or Africa, she contributed an important perspective and voice, as well as knowledge and experience. “I’d never been on a board and I didn’t know a lot about education or Africa. But if I felt I could contribute, I just did. I wasn’t brought up to be a warm body. If I’m doing something, I want to really be there – I want to engage.”

8-coffeepotRachel grew up in Edmond, OK and attended the Kansas City Art Institute before finishing her BFA at the University of Oklahoma with minors in ceramics and art history to go along with her photography major. But when asked about her passions, Rachel added fiber arts (“Lots of the women in my family are talented fiber artists.”), pets (“We have two dogs and two cats.”), family (“My family is the greatest!”), tattoos (“Which one?”), food and coffee (“Since 2014 I’ve started to move into coffee as a career”).

True to form, Rachel parlayed an entry-level position at OKC’s Elemental Coffee into the role of Chief Roaster. She started with a high level of knowledge from past work in the field, but took it to another level. Today she is the coffee educator at George Howell Coffee in Boston. “I host classes, cuppings, education, palate trainings, brew method classes – all sorts of things.”


Being in Boston is a permanent move for Rachel and Drew, one which opens up many wonderful professional opportunities for both. And while Rachel won’t be available to assist PAMBE Ghana on a regular basis, her contributions have made a significant impact. As for Rachel, she says she, too, has benefitted from her three years of volunteering with PAMBE Ghana. “I’m grateful. I learned a lot, I got the chance to help, I got to know some wonderful people, and the experience has set me up to contribute somewhere in depth in the future.” Thank you Rachel – we wish you well!

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.