For Emmanuel Nana Akyen, soccer has been a pathway to a wider world. Born in Ghana, and by the age of five an orphan, he was recruited for the Right to Dream Academy, where he honed his athletic and academic talents. This led to an opportunity to attend Dunn School in California, and eventually a scholarship to Westmont College, from which he graduated in 2014. He is now coaching soccer and developing a bigger plan for helping to change the lives of others.  Nana's warmth, intelligence, and humor are evident in this interview. Read on, and meet a truly inspiring young man.

Recalling projects requiring jigsaws in the hands of grade schoolers, the discovery of darkroom magic, the hikes where we girls surmounted the giant sandstone rocks using the ropes the boys in our very own class had carried and secured for our safe climb, camping trips, hot air balloon flights, poetry of place names and articles published in a real grown-ups' newspaper, I wondered what experiences shaped a teacher who revered adventure, nature, the finer points of language and even magic.  And what had caused him to successfully ignite in his students the desire to do the same?  Bruce gives us a glimpse of the exceptional characters who raised him, 'law breaking' adventure, wild backpacking trips and the insatiable curiosity that made him the exceptional teacher I know him to be.  

Please accept this invitation from his student of nearly 30 years ago and pull up a seat near the dancing campfire flames to listen to the warm, earthen voice of a master teacher and storyteller weave the tales of his own creation.