Because he puts a high premium on learning, Todd Finklestone has immersed himself in making education possible for African orphans.
Finklestone, who earned a BS and a Master of Science in Ethics and Public Policy from Suffolk University, is the co-founder of CameroonONE, a non-profit organization that sponsors the education of orphaned children in the Republic of Cameroon.
Today, two years after finishing graduate school, Finklestone is making major decisions for his organization, working on program development, raising money to help support children’s scholarships, and organizing supply drives for school gear, medical equipment and clothing.
“One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is knowing the real impact our organization has in the development and security of these children,” he says. “It’s pretty special to be involved in helping to support and improve the lives of others.”
Finklestone and his CameroonONE team recently expanded their mission, having launched a project designed to take parentless children out of their orphanages and place them in the households of surviving relatives who would otherwise not be able to afford to take in their own kin.
Finklestone credits the opportunities created by Suffolk University – in and out of the classroom – for his successful entry into the professional workplace.
One of his most memorable experiences was participating in a London internship with a non-governmental organization that works to keep weapons out of developing countries and war zones and lobbies governments to practice sensible arms sales.
“The knowledge I gained at Suffolk has helped me in every phase of my job,” he says. “If it weren’t for my education, I wouldn’t be where I am right now.”
Finklestone has branched out in his fund-raising efforts; he is illustrating the children’s book Fooling Ewe, with the proceeds going to CameroonONE.
He also is training to be a response team member for ShelterBox, a British organization of first-relief responders to global disasters.
“I need to be connected to helping other people,” he says. “It’s who I am and what I’m all about.”
Finklestone shared the story of his career of service with other young alumni who were recognized for their career accomplishments at a “10 Under 10” reception in April. All 10 of the alumni honored earned their Suffolk University degrees within the past decade.