Hixson resident Kathleen Majoras Collins always longed for a large family. After adopting three brothers from Ghana who needed a home and medical treatment - and traveling back one year later to adopt their best friend - her maternal nature is kicking in again.
"We made a promise to our children that we would find a way to help as many orphans as we could throughout the Ghana area," she said.
The Collins family is launching Academics 4 Africa to help pay for the education and uniforms of Ghana's orphan children. Kathleen Majoras Collins is the founder and president of the new nonprofit.
"Upon arriving home we witnessed firsthand the struggle our new boys went through due to no previous opportunities at schooling," said Collins, who has two other grown children. "Their low self-esteem and constant struggle told us that this was the area we should concentrate on."
She said her new sons had to catch up quickly in school because of the lack of education they had received in Africa. Now, she said, they are doing well academically despite having to go through numerous grade levels in a couple of years' time.
Despite their obstacles, she said in the past two years her son Godfred successfully completed six grades of school and will start middle school in the fall. Clinton, age 14, successfully finished his first year of middle school, including algebra, after only attending school for three months prior to coming to the United States.
Joseph, age 8, has completed three years of school and will start the fourth grade on target, said Collins. Philip, age 6, will be in first grade next year and learned a lot during his kindergarten year, she added.
"Poverty will stop in Ghana through education and employment," said Collins. "We've paid 35 students' school fees through December. One hundred percent of donations go to educate students in Ghana and are tax deductible."
Collins said over the past two years she and her husband have traveled to Ghana six times.
"Academics 4 Africa will contact the school directly in order to pay fees," she said. "Grades and attendance will be monitored through school officials. If the child is successful, they may receive funds the following year as well. School materials such as paper and pencils will also be supplied as needed. As Academics 4 Africa grows we will expand the services offered and increase the number of children served."