Today I read about the continuing fight of Malala Yousafzai, a 14 year old Pakistani girl, shot in the head for promoting girl’s education. Hard to imagine that you risk death for wanting an education, isn’t it?

There are no Taliban here to threaten our girls with death for wanting to be a doctor. But there ARE threats to our girls. The threats are real and dangerous: indifference, lack of belief in their abilities, poverty…

And yet our young women can shine, just as Malala does, in the face of the difficulties facing them. I was reminded once again this week as one of our first PEF sponsored international travelers sought us out.

Six years have passed since we took eight girls on our first service learning trip to Grenada to help save sea turtles. Since that time, Nikki has graduated from college, married and returned to Paterson. She checked in with us to see how she can help. She wants to assure that other young women get the chance to experience the life changing experience she had in Grenada.

She joins several other of our trip alumni in working on our next trip to Costa Rica in 2013. It’s not dramatic or heroic. Nikki and her colleagues don’t risk death for seeking to further the horizons of other Paterson girls. They could be selfishly focused on building wealth and personal gain. But they are paying it forward, knowing that others girl will be strengthed and supported.

We have amazing young women.

In the memory of Pat Harris,