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Fundraiser to benefit Penn Hills doctor's mission work

| Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Residents at the Ryvanz-Mia orphanage explore computer equipment in the lab provided by Greene's Hope for Ghana charity.
Dr. Stephen Greene, a pediatric specialist at Premier Medical Associates in Penn Hills, started Hope for Ghana after doing mission work there through Operation Crossroads Africa while he was attending medical school.

When Dr. Stephen Greene was preparing for his first mission trip to Africa, a fellow student at the University of Vermont's College of Medicine gave him advice that turned out to be true.

“He said, ‘Your first trip to Africa will never be your last trip to Africa,'” said Greene, a pediatric specialist at Premier Medical Associates in Penn Hills.

Greene is headed back to Ghana in February, to the town of Keta, for another library/computer lab project, and the Chick-fil-A restaurant in the Miracle Mile shopping plaza is hosting a fundraiser to help his efforts.

The summer after Greene's first year at the University of Vermont, a friend introduced him to Operation Crossroads Africa, a New York-based organization that sends professionals on mission trips to Africa.

“People go for construction, for education, but also for medical work,” Greene said. “We went to Ghana in 1986 for two months and did different types of medical work, delivering babies and performing other services for which there's a very large need.”

After completing his work, Greene traveled for a few weeks and fell in love with the country and its people.

“Ghana is amazing,” he said. “At that time it was under a military coup (regime), but now it's a democratic country. The people are welcoming and beautiful.”

Greene said what truly struck him was the level of need.

“There's always something you can do to impact the people and make their lives better,” he said. “It really draws you back.”

After meeting a local doctor, whose family he had worked with, Greene began making trips outside of Operation Crossroads Africa, and now has his own charity, Hope for Ghana, organized in 2011 with the goal of “creating opportunity through education for the children of Ghana.”

Greene's work with the Ryvanz-Mia orphanage in the town of Kpando, located in the southeast of the country, inspired his current work.

“I thought that one of the greatest things I could give would be education: some means of a brighter future and a way to escape the poverty they're in,” he said.

Over the next few years, Greene used the charity to construct a small library and computer lab for the orphanage. The lab has six computers hooked up to a variety of learning software, although they are not equipped for Internet access.

Chick-fil-A will dedicate its Feb. 6 “Spirit Night” to Hope for Ghana, which will receive a portion of the evening's proceeds between 4 and 7 p.m.

“Chick-fil-A is amazing,” Greene said. “I'm truly blessed to have them take one of their ‘Spirit Nights' and dedicate it to my mission work. I'm very grateful and humbled that among all the charitable causes they could invest in, they'd choose mine.”

Chick-fil-A is located at 4040 William Penn Highway in Monroeville.

Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or

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