Trade-ing Up Aims to Train, Empower Youth in Ghana

Trade-ing Up
Trade-ing Up logo

Support the launch of a new nonprofit organization that works to build a sustainable future for young adult citizens of Ghana through vocational education. The organization is called Trade-ing Up, and donations can be made via PayPal through

Executive Director Brandon McGee grew up in Manahawkin and, after graduating from Southern Regional High School, had a life-changing four-month volunteer experience in Zambia, where he started a goat farm, courtesy of the LBI Rotary Club’s international aid program. Upon his return to the US, McGee described the Zambia trip as both the best and saddest times of his life. He told The SandPaper in 2015 that the global exposure had opened his eyes to the needs of others in a whole new way. On a personal level, he felt completeness there like never before or since.

McGee is currently seeking funding to support the construction of a school in Yeji, which is located on the northern shores of Lake Volta, a key point of trade between north and south Ghana. Surrounding the lake are communities made up predominantly of unskilled workers awaiting economic opportunity.

Trade-ing Up’s overall mission is to build and connect those communities, and to eliminate the local skills gap in the northern Lake Volta region by empowering young adults with technical education to control their own destiny and quality of life. The goal, over time, is to reduce the need for international blind aid and to enhance and diversify the local economy with more skilled labor and expanded trade networks.

Trade-ing Up works with ambitious teens and young adults, 15 and older, who live in poverty. Corresponding to region-specific need, student interest and economic viability, with instruction by local masters, programs provide seamstress training, fitter education (carpentry and welding), English language and business development.

The organization’s long-range vision is “to create a blueprint for relatively self sufficient vocational schools in the developing world.”

McGee is a student of economics and international affairs at George Washington University and a Paul Harris Fellow through Rotary International. Trade-ing Up’s director of development is Kyle Wiese, a Washington, D.C., resident with experience in nonprofit management, administration and grant funding, as well as domestic and international volunteer experience; director of finance is Bryan Vodicka, a first-year MBA student at Georgetown University, with experience in global clinical trials, volunteer construction and disaster relief.

Currently in the planning stages is a fundraising dinner at the LBI Foundation of the Arts and Sciences in June.

Find out more about this non profit at


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