When Joseph A. Twumasi-Ankrah ’06 has elicited a smile from a heartbroken child or brought insight to a confused teen, then he can say, “I did my job today.”
Twumasi-Ankrah, a licensed social worker, is site director for Partnership With Children, which works with 12 underserved New York City public schools to provide support for students’ social, emotional and academic development.
A graduate of St. Raymond’s Parochial High School for boys in the Bronx, Twumasi-Ankrah applied to SUNY colleges after he realized his family could not support his education at private universities where he had been accepted. He chose Oswego, and a long bus ride in August 2001 brought him and his 18 bags to Riggs Hall and face-to-face with faculty resident Jay Button.
“It was my first time away from home, and Jay, who became my mentor, took care of me. I’ll always be grateful,” Twumasi-Ankrah says. “Oswego changed my life.”
At Oswego he worked as a peer adviser in the Office of Learning Services and discovered his interest in helping people. He learned to respect language after Dr. Maureen Curtin insisted that whatever his future held, he would need to be able to express himself in standard written English.
“I went on to earn a master’s degree in social work at City University,” Twumasi-Ankrah says. “But it was at Oswego where the foundation was laid.”
Now, as Twumasi-Ankrah finds ways to lift students from anger, despair, apathy or fear, he says he is blessed. “Every night, when I come home, I realize that I have had the rare privilege to help another human being. I could not ask for anything more.”
—Linda Loomis ’90 M’97
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