A nonprofit, Room to Read, hosted a Rally for Reading, raising nearly $20,000 to help build and stock three new libraries in developing worlds.
On November 16, the Westchester Chapter of Room to Read, a nonprofit organization that strives to empower impoverished children across the globe through literacy and gender equality in education, held a Rally for Reading luncheon at the Larchmont Shore Club that raised almost $20,000 for the organization's cause. The money will help build three new libraries in the developing world and fill them with age-appropriate children's books and trained librarians.
For one Room to Read volunteer, Larchmont resident Mony Liquard, the cause hits close to home. Now a mom of two (and pregnant with her third child) and a director at GE Capital in Connecticut, Liquard is a survivor of Cambodia's killing fields in the late '70s, when the country's educated people were eliminated and its school system collapsed. She still remembers her early years of "school" in one of the Khmer Rouge communist regime's labor camps in the mid-1970s, where lesson plans were "all about obeying the government and spying on your parents and other people." Liquard and her family fled across the border to Thailand when she was 8 years old.
Mony Liquard and her two children. Courtesy Mony Liquard.
"Reading, writing, and learning are like candy for children in rural Cambodia because it's a luxury," Liquard says. Her firsthand experience inspired her to volunteer with Room to Read, to help present underprivileged children educational opportunities as a way out of poverty.
About 200 Westchester residents attended the Rally for Reading luncheon. Erin Ganju, CEO and co-founder of Room to Read, and Julie Orringer, award-winning author of "The Invisible Bridge," spoke at the event. Westchester County Legislator Judy Myers also attended. A silent auction was held at the event, with generous donations from vendors and individuals in Larchmont and surrounding communities.
Room to Read CEO Erin Ganju (center) with Westchester Chapter leaders Carine Verschueren (left) and Karen Regan (right) at the Rally for Reading. Courtesy Sandra Wong Geroux.
The Westchester Chapter of Room to Read was founded in November 2010 by Carine Verschueren and Karen Regan. Volunteer meetings are held every first Tuesday of the month.
For more information about the chapter, visit www.roomtoread.org/westchester.