In September 2011 I embarked on a fitness and nutrition regime…and today, 119 pounds lighter, I've lost almost half my body weight. I'm now stronger, healthier and more energetic than I've been in decades and able to participate in a whole range of activities and challenges that I could never have even considered 17 months ago.
In January, I decided to use this new-found strength to take on a new challenge: the New York Half Marathon, being held on March 17th. Feeling newly empowered, I want to use the opportunity to raise money to empower others through a great organization that I have been following for the past decade—READ Global.
Now, I've never run anything (and I mean anything) in my life, so this is a huge leap for me! I couldn't walk half a mile without being out of breath 18 months ago. Now I am half way through a 10-week training program to prepare for running 13.1 miles on race day. I completed an eight mile training run this weekend and survived.
In a nutshell, READ has developed a unique and scalable model using community library resource centers (READ Centers) as catalysts for social and economic transformation. In rural South Asia, literacy rates are usually less than 50%, and more than half of all families straddle the poverty line. By bringing libraries, computer resources, and trainings on literacy, health, finance and vocational skills, families—especially women—are given valuable tools to help transform their lives and provide a more promising future for their children. To ensure sustainability, each READ Center is paired with a for-profit enterprise that generates income. To date, READ has established 65 Centers reaching over 1.9 million people. I love the community-based approach, focus on sustainability and scalability and emphasis on empowering women.
I'm setting an ambitious goal of raising $50,000 to fund the creation of a Satellite Center in Nepal serving a remote group of villages. I’ve contributed the first $10,000 and am hoping you will join me in helping to raise the other $40,000. A Satellite Center provides a smaller building with a library, computers, livelihoods trainings and women’s empowerment programs while utilizing the expanded resources of a larger Center located within a day’s walk. Typically, Satellite Centers are established through community initiative when they see the great transformative impact of a nearby Center and want one of their own. This summer I will have the chance to visit several READ projects like this one when I trek for 14 days through Upper Mustang in Nepal, continuing my own transformative journey of pushing my body and mind to new places.
I hope you will consider joining me in partnership with READ to help bring economic and educational resources to hundreds of families in Nepal. Your investment will help create sustainable prosperity for a village and help break the cycle of poverty.
Check out READ at their website: www.readglobal.org and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/READglobal.
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