Since Adam finished his time as Full Circle Director, Melissa and the rest of the team have done an amazing job stepping up while we searched for the perfect person to fill the job. Full Circle, our after school program, is a critical component of our Scholarship Program, and it takes a very creative, motivated, compassionate, and driven person to lead the program. Today, we’re excited to announce that we found that perfect person–Chloe Crocker!
While our preference is almost always to hire native Tanzanians, we seek an American for this role because the concept of after school programs and extracurricular activities is not common in Tanzania. We believe that education extends far beyond the classroom, and Full Circle enriches our kids’ lives in an incredibly special and important way.
We are so lucky that Chloe found us. It was only a week and a half ago that she accepted the job, and she arrived in Tanzania yesterday! She is ready to hit the ground running, and we are thrilled to welcome her to our team. Karibu Chloe!
My family is from Tulsa, Oklahoma. I have an older brother, Paul, and a younger sister, Katy, and my parents are Patty and Reggie. I was home schooled from second grade onward, but I was very involved in extracurricular activities growing up, like 4-H. I majored in Agricultural Leadership and Development at Texas A&M. I love cheering on my Aggie Football team, playing the piano, cooking, and gardening in my spare time!
Can you tell us more about your previous experiences in Tanzania?
I worked as a Volunteer Program Officer with 4-H Tanzania for 6 months in 2011 in Tanga, TZ. Part of my job was to help connect 4-H programs in the US with programs in Tanzania. I also visited 4-H Clubs to find out the types of activities that they were doing so we could better develop our programming and our monitoring and evaluation systems. 4-H Tanzania conducted a huge study on gender equality with our clubs and I helped lead meetings with 4-H parents to find simple solutions to problems that girls were facing within their clubs and school. By far, my favorite part of work was visiting with 4-H members about their projects and how they were learning to be self-sufficient in their future! Tanzanian youth are so diligent and hardworking in entrepreneurship ventures, they are truly preparing for their future.
What is it that is drawing you back?
Growing up, I had a wonderful support system of family and 4-H and community leaders. I like to think that without them I would still have achieved all that I have, but they truly provided me the opportunities to succeed in life and the skills and confidence to take advantage of those opportunities. I realized that without them, my life would have been drastically different. I can think of no better deserving youth than those served by TFFT to help find opportunities in life and help them develop the skills necessary to become the people that they once never imagined possible.
How did you first learn about TFFT?
The first time I heard about TFFT was by seeing this job posting on Idealist.org. When I read the requirements and job description, I knew that it was a job that I would love.
What about TFFT’s mission inspires you?
The idea of empowering the future of Tanzania through educating those who would never receive an education otherwise totally inspires me. In the US education is so easily accessible for most that we take it for granted. The concept that we can so drastically alter someone’s path and give them the ability to create their own identity, and in turn change their country’s identity is very motivating (and a little intimidating).
What attracted you to the position as Full Circle Director?
I have always enjoyed working with youth in a non-formal teaching environment. My history with 4-H has taught me that there is so much more to learn beyond traditional school. Teaching life and livelihood skills opens up the opportunity for hands on learning, teamwork, and building confidence and leadership.
What are your goals for the year?
In my 6 months I spent in Tanzania last year, I gained great familiarity with Kiswahili, but I am going to be working hard to become fluent as quickly as possible. I would love to start some school gardens if they are not in place and look at working entrepreneurship into the areas that we are studying. I would also like to create partnerships with some of the organizations that I already have relationships with.
What life skills will you prioritize for cultivating our students?
As a “Jack of all trades” type of person, it is hard for me to prioritize because I can see the value of each skill. However, some of the life skills that are near to my heart and I also feel are extremely important are leadership, public speaking, community involvement, teamwork, garden keeping, environmental awareness, cooking and nutrition, and health.
Anything else you would like to share?
I am so excited to get back to Tanzania and start work–Jet lag and all!