Forty-two percent of girls in developing countries are not enrolled in school. This stark fact led Paige McKinsey, a senior at Pleasant Valley High School, to organize an effort to support girls' education in third world countries. Slated for December 10 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Pleasant Valley High School's old auditorium on Route 209 in Brodheadsville, the community night is scheduled to have speakers from East Stroudsburg University, the Peace Corps, and Cedar Crest College.
Like all senior high school students at Pleasant Valley, Paige McKinsey had to complete a senior project. While most of her classmates chose important local community service such as working with sports teams and nursing homes, McKinsey saw an opportunity to bring attention to a worldwide issue. She knew from her studies that when girls learn, their families and communities benefit. Educating girls in developing countries is directly linked to many positive outcomes, such as reduced infant mortality rates, increased wages, and better-educated future generations.
Dr. Molly Whalen, Director, Women's Studies/Women's Center at East Stroudsburg University, Alice Koehler of the Peace Corps, and Dr. Jennifer Weatherford, Director, Global Initiatives and International Programs at Cedar Crest College, will each discuss challenges and solutions to educating girls and young women in some of the world's poorest nations.
In addition, interactive displays will provide opportunities to experience the struggles and successes that organizations face when trying to educate girls under the most extreme conditions.
Among the evening's highlights will be a raffle to win an autographed copy of "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by the award-winning author, Khaled Hosseini. The book tells the story of the struggles Afghan women face, and was autographed by Hosseini especially for this event.
Suggested donations will go directly to Room to Read, a nonprofit organization with chapters in eight countries and in more than 10 states. Room to Read, established in 2000, boasts a solid track record of improving the odds for girls in 2008, 98% of the girls enrolled in their programs advanced to the next grade.
Donations to the organization go to provide school fees, textbooks, uniforms, school supplies and transportation in countries ranging from Bangladesh to Vietnam.
For further information about this event, please contact Paige McKinsey at (610) 681-3760.