2014 VPS Recipient, Dr. Carol Labor

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Dr. Carol Labor is a recognized bi-lingual professional with advocacy, leadership, program design & implementation and strategic planning experience. Carol was born in Sierra Leone, West Africa, and moved to the United States at the age of 5. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational Development and a Master of Science degree in Education. After many years of working in the corporate world and for Pennsylvania state government, she took the leap of faith in 2008 and founded her non-profit, Schools Without Borders (SWB). Staring with what she thought was a simple book drive with Disney, she obtained over 250,000 books through Disney’s Give a Day, Get a Day program. Carol has impacted the lives of thousands of children through her organization.​ 

 

Locally, SWB focused on providing books to children and reading development / student integration for children in urban school districts. Internationally, Carol has provided over 150,000 books to over 10,000 children in Sierra Leone, West Africa and has partnered with other organizations to provide thousands of books to children in Liberia and Jamaica.  Most recently, she single-handedly obtained permission from United Way Worldwide to establish United Way of Sierra Leone. She relocated to Sierra Leone for 7 months with her 3 young sons and in true “Carol” fashion, she did just that. While living in Sierra Leone, Carol started the “Read Across Sierra Leone “ program to provide books to girls throughout the country with her signature character, “Sallymatu”.


Upon Carol’s return, she narrowed down her focus to work on reading development for solely for girls in Sierra Leone. Carol created and designed the GIRLS! program to provide reading and STEM integration for class three girls during a critical transition period in their cognitive development. Carol is partnering with First Book as her national and international partner to provide new books that meet Common Core Standards in the areas of reading and science. Additionally, she has created the first ever App specifically designed for girls, Academics for GIRLS! that launched in Washington D.C on October18, 2013 in collaboration with OpenGov Hub and in Philadelphia, PA on October 19, 2013.


Carol is an advocate for education for children as a whole. Her advocacy has led her to meet with officials from the While House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African -Americans, White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanics, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, Ministers and Advisers of the Sierra Leone Government, U.S. Congressional members, and state and local elected officials. She is engaged in the community as a current or past member of organizations such as Mayor’s Commission on African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs , School District of Philadelphia’s Language Policy Committee, Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (PCHR) Inter-Agency Civil Rights Task Force, Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool Youth Development Network, Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition (PICC), School District of Philadelphia’s Racial Harmony Taskforce,- Continuing Opportunity for Family Education Enrichment, Philadelphia Fatherhood Practitioners Network, Philadelphia Chapter of the National Congress of Black Women, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.


Carol has received numerous awards for her work such as the Point of Light Award presented by President George Bush Sr. & Michelle Nunn - CEO, Point of Light Institutes, 2013 Gems of Africa Award, 2012 Diaspora Award, 2011 Humanitarian Award and the United States President’s Volunteer Medal Award . Carol has received numerous commendations & citations from PA Senator Vincent Hughes, PA State Representative Dwight Evans, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds-Brown, Mayor John F. Street, and U.S. Senator Arlen Specter.
Carol is a public speaker and has participated in formal and informal panels and community discussions surrounding education, immigration, and girls rights. Carol is a published author of the children’s book Sallymatu’s Soup and was a nominee for the 2014 Women for Africa award in the International Woman category.


Carol is also founder of Diaspora Women, a coalition of women unified with one voice to tackle humanitarian and natural disasters and issues affecting women and girls globally.


Carol divides her time between NJ and Sierra Leone.