From early on, Carolyn Tague wanted to be an educator. When we were 10, we formed a group which we creatively named, “Mini-School”, rounding up neighborhood children to come and read and draw with us. It was the 70’s… and many moms were happy to drop off their children for a couple of hours for free babysitting.
At Springside, we continued our close friendship and were provided the unique and wonderful education that made us look beyond campus, to careers that would effectuate change, make us problem solvers and risk takers. Carolyn took the “beyond campus" part of the mission rather literally, going off for the frontier, Alaska, four thousand miles away.
In Alaska for the past 25 years, Carolyn served as a Special Education teacher, mentor and counselor for thousands of children, underprivileged and underserved. From elementary children with autism to incarcerated adolescents, Carolyn’s unwavering commitment helped children with disabilities receive the educations they required and deserve. Flying to remote Alaskan villages to train teachers, sleeping on schoolhouse floors, helping teen girls in prison, the central tenet of Carolyn’s Special Education career is that there should be no barriers to receiving an education — no matter where you are or what your circumstances, you too should have the chance to become an innovative leader, a problem solver and experience the joy of discovery.
For most individuals, Carolyn’s career in Alaska would be a life of service in and of itself, commendable for recognition. But for Carolyn, she saw that education is a global need. Accordingly, Carolyn courageously took her experience abroad to rural Kenya, founding the Lemong'o Project.
Visiting Africa every summer since 2005, Carolyn recognized that education can only begin when basic necessities are present. It is difficult to learn when you are hungry. Accordingly, the Lemong’o Project provides 500 free school lunches daily. It is difficult to learn when you are sick. The Lemong’o project provides free medical clinics. It is difficult to learn if you teachers are not well educated. The Lemong’o project has provided teacher training and salaries, sending several students to university. All these actions empower the Maasai tribe in Kenya and allow another part of the world to experience the privilege and incredible power of education.
Carolyn’s understanding of the global need for education as a means of empowerment and advancement, is exactly the type of compelling thinking and problem solving that is central to the mission of SCH. Crin’s selfless journey from Philadelphia to Alaska to Kenya, from a special needs educator to the founder of a vital non-profit for the Maasai people is a fulfillment and model of SCH’s quest for integrity and global positive change.