Meet The Colleagues

Richard Kelley

Richard's Impact

In the Mamelodi township of South Africa, where most residents live in temporary housing without electricity or running water, Richard Kelley (‘11) was surprised and humbled to be met by smiles and eagerness to connect. Serving on a fellowship, he gathered input from schools, churches, the U.S. embassy and the University of Pretoria and started coordinating programs in computer literacy, a young men's group and a sports initiative. "I'm especially bad at sports," Richard shrugs, "but that's what happens when you ask for input." Program involvement spread rapidly. Over 100 students participated in a high school prep course, and 200 attended summer programs taught by foreign and local college students. Richard told the KF, "I learn from my teens every day. To see their passion and wonder reignites my own. My understanding of the world and of God's majesty is growing daily." Toward the end of the year, Richard started handing off responsibilities. "The Krista Foundation's Staying for Tea principles reminded me that leaving, though painful, was actually a good thing so that local leaders carry this project forward for their community." Now back in the U.S. and on faculty with the School for Ethics and Global Leadership in Washington, D.C., Richard is eager to integrate his service experiences alongside other Krista Colleague leaders. He notes, "The lessons learned in the field will shape who I am for many years to come."

Richard's Service Bio

I work with high school students living in the Mamelodi township of South Africa. I run and support educational programming (including computer literacy courses, an after-school program, a young men's group, sports initiative, and holiday programming) and mentor local teens.

Richard's Background: Throughout college, I worked with the Phillips Brooks House Association, a student-run non-profit at Harvard University. With PBHA, I gained invaluable experiences in the non-profit world. During my time with PBHA, I directed a summer program, established an afterschool program, and eventually served a term as President of the organization. During my college years I also worked closely with a Christian fellowship who has been leading mission trips to Mamelodi, South Africa for the last five years. In my senior year of college, I spent a great deal of time helping them think through an effective education program for their trip to Mamelodi, South Africa.

At the end of my time in college, I knew that I wanted to commit my life to social justice work. Through PBHA I learned of a one-year fellowship that would potentially fund my time in South Africa. I was awarded the Ella Lyman Cabot Trust and took the opportunity to come to work on education issues in Mamelodi.

I have long held two central beliefs: (1) that all individuals deserve equal opportunity and (2) that education is the most powerful way to empower communities to make the change they want to see.
I must admit, I wasn't certain what I was getting myself in to when I came to Mamelodi, but I can certainly say, I fall in love with the community more and more every day.

I have been serving in Mamelodi since August 2010. Currently I assist in running a variety of educational programs including computer literacy courses, sports programming, a young men's group, an afterschool program, and holiday programs. All of these programs are designed to serve high school youth from the township. The work I do is focused on improving the lives of residents in Mamelodi, South Africa. Through community partnerships and education, these programs aim to empower members of the community so that the community—specifically the youth—can make the changes they want to see.


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Colleague Info

African Enterprise
Pretoria, South Africa

Developing Nations

Children and Youth, Poverty: Urban US & International