Michael Walton in Ghana West Africa

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Michael Walton, CEO and Founder of the Michael Walton Foundation recently spent time in West Africa, bringing the foundation’s signature program ‘Speak Out to Reach Out’ to the youth of Ghana. The following are interview questions posed to Michael regarding the ‘Speak Out to Reach Out’ Ghana West Africa Tour.

  • Can you tell us how the ‘Speak Out to Reach Out’ for Ghana was organized, was this something your foundation organized, or did you collaborate with other organizations to make this happen?

Michael:  The tour was brought together by a series of partners that the foundation was able to build a relationship with who currently run programs, NGO’s (Non-governmental Organization) in Ghana. The lead organization was Star Service and Study Abroad with Miss Brittni Howard ( along with The Cheerful Hearts Foundation (CHF)  Campaign for Learning Disabilities and Henry Osabutey Education Foundation These organizations were able to pull the tour together in a relatively short period of time.

  • Was it ever in your plans to reach out to Africa?

Michael: The desire to go to Africa was something that I had expressed interest in doing; everything just came together organically, and I was very pleased to be a part of it.

  • What did you do to prepare yourself for this trip?

Michael: In preparation for the trip to Ghana, I wanted to ensure that I was very deliberate about having an opened mind and not going with any pre-conceived notions about what the trip would necessarily look like. However, I did do my due diligence and research to familiarize myself with how the school systems ran and the different challenges that may be presented. I kept a very open mind with no immediate thoughts other than being ready to deliver a message to the youth of Ghana and being excited.

  • What was the message that you delivered to the youth of Ghana?

 Michael: The theme of the tour was ‘See. Believe. Achieve.’ A very simple and straightforward message; but that was the point of it, to be simple, something that could really be grasped and held on to. Prior to our heading to Ghana, some of the schools expressed interest in incorporating goal-setting in our presentation. Through the message of ‘See. Believe. Achieve.’ we did just that, strategically incorporating goal-setting by highlighting how to see a goal to fruition. First, the visualization which is a process of knowing what you’re doing and what you’re going after and then there is the believing in the thing that you’re going after and putting in the work behind it and then there’s just being prepared for achievement and knowing that you deserve the fruits of your labor. That was really the message, it was so simple and so catchy that the kids really grabbed onto it, they were very attentive and took notes. During the follow-up everyone still remembered the theme and the message, I think it was effective.

  • What impressed you most regarding the youth?

Michael: One of the things that impressed me the most was just the perseverance and the spirit of higher achievement they exemplified, which resonated throughout the different communities.

  • How do you want to remember this experience going forward?

Michael: Remembering this experience going forward, I want to remember it as the first step in doing my part to help add positive things to the youth of Ghana, to help contribute to youth achievement. My goal in going there and doing the ‘Speak Out to Reach Out’ was never just to go and have a pep rally and just leave them at that but to form partnerships, make relationships and begin something, to really explore and get a feel from being on the ground there, a feel of what the needs are. When I think of it, I think of it as a learning experience and as something that has really ignited a fire under me in a way that I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced in my years of doing non-profit work. This is just the first step in much more, is how I will truly remember this experience, it won’t be a standalone it will be a start of something.

  • Do you have any plans moving forward to encapsulate what you shared with the youth?

Michael: While I was there we established a relationship with each of the schools, I was at eleven facilities and visited with about 25 schools and made connections with most, if not all the schools. We’re in the process now of following up on our visit and seeing what the needs are moving forward. I adopted several schools while there which means that I will be returning to check in with them to redeliver messages, bring workshops, supplies and human resources. It was just the start of empowering those very driven youth that I saw and doing my part to help empower them. I’m really looking forward to the next phase of this and seeing the impact come forward.   

  • Lastly, how was your experience in the different communities?

We went out to some of the fishing villages and different places during the last days there. I really got a chance to get a good picture of every aspect of life, I was pretty much in the southern region. I saw a lot of different circumstances. The consistent thing that I saw was just an attitude of hope and determination that really impressed me. I saw a society that was not afraid to come together, I felt a sense of togetherness during my time there which was really refreshing to see.






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