Graduate Making a Difference in Ghana

A CJ graduate, with a passion for helping children in Africa, spoke with members of F.L.I.G.H.T. recently about how CJ helped prepare her for her career, even before she knew what she would be doing.

“I was a Kairos leader, I was a LIFE leader, and I went to Belize multiple times to volunteer,” Maggie Ryan ’11 told the students. “Also, my junior year religion class with Dr. Mominee really influenced what I wanted to do. I was able to express the ideas of inequality and injustice in academia and I was really able to become passionate about it through that class. It really did change me and does still to do this day.”

Following her time at CJ, Ryan attended DePaul University and graduated with degrees in Peace, Justice and Conflict studies, English with a creative writing concentration, and a minor in Women and Gender studies. While at DePaul, Ryan began volunteering in Ghana.

“I first went my freshman year and I kept going back to the same children’s home,” Ryan explained. “The home was in a small village and had about 120 children. I knew I wanted to stay a part of their lives, and when I was looking for a job, someone who was in charge of the volunteer program there offered me a job to work as a volunteer coordinator.”

While spending time in Ghana, Ryan became connected to other groups, and met a life-changing connection at a concert.

“I met the manager of Stonebwoy, an internationally known afrobeats and reggae musician,” Ryan shared. “We were talking and I asked him if he knew of any foundations that were hiring and he said that Stonebwoy actually wanted to start one. He asked me to be the director of it and I said yes.”

Ryan said that her life-path is something she would have not expected while at CJ, but she wouldn’t change it.

“You don't always have to go through the conventional route of growth - everybody's growth and change is different,” Ryan emphasized. “I have friends who are married and have children and I'm not at that point in my life yet and I'm OK with that. Instead, I said yes to some really big things. If you feel passionate about something, then you can say yes and it's OK.”

You can learn more about Stonebwoy’s foundation, The Livingstone Foundation, on their Facebook page.

Posted January 3, 2018