Next Generation

Davis girls take lead in helping girls around the world

By From page A8 | October 01, 2013

Kyra Labbe-Renault, an eighth-grader at Holmes Junior High School, prepares the agenda for last Friday's planning meeting for the upcoming Girl Rising screening and fundraiser at the Unitarian Universalist Church. Helping organize the event with Labbe- Renault are, from left to right behind her, Sara Valdes, Jaymelyn Hubert and Grace Range. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

It may not have been a full passing of the torch, but Friday’s meeting at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis provided a glimpse of what’s ahead: The next generation assuming responsibility for the sort of community event their parents have long organized here.

As their mothers looked on, made suggestions and applauded their forward thinking and industriousness, a handful of teenage girls continued planning a large event they will be holding at the church later this month: a screening of the film “Girl Rising,” with proceeds benefiting the Myanmar Children’s Foundation.

“Girl Rising” tells the stories of nine girls from nine countries around the world, the strength of the human spirit and perhaps most importantly, the power of an education — something for too long denied many of these girls.

Holmes Junior High School student Kyra Labbé-Renault saw the documentary with her mom, Autumn, over the summer.

She came out of the theater and told her mom, “More people in our community need to see this. More kids need to see this.”

“Everybody in Davis is so lucky because there are free public schools here,” Kyra said. “Sometimes I take my education for granted. But everybody should know that not everyone in the world can get an education.”

Being the daughter of someone like Autumn Labbé-Renault, executive director of Davis Media Access and a longtime organizer of community events, it’s not all that surprising what happened next.

An email was sent out to members of the UU community seeking people interested in bringing a screening of “Girl Rising” to the church, and girls — and their moms — signed on.

The group has organized a showing of the film for Friday, Oct. 11, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the church, 27074 Patwin Road. The screening is for both adults and youths over the age of 12 and all donations will go to the Myanmar Children’s Foundation, a Davis-based charity dedicated to helping children in one of Asia’s poorest countries.

The foundation helps fund five schools that provide free education as well as shelter and care to poor and orphaned children. Co-founder Susan Steinbach will be at the Oct. 11 screening to talk about the foundation.

Following the screening will be peer discussion groups — one each for adults, high school students and junior high students. There will also be refreshments at intermission, information tables and more.

Planning all of this would seem to be quite a challenge for a group of junior high girls, but they certainly seemed up to the task at their meeting on Friday.

Seated around a table in the UU library were Kyra, Da Vinci Junior High students Jaymelyn Hubert and Grace Range and Emerson Junior High student Sara Valdez. In addition to their mothers, all longtime community organizers, there were others on hand to help out as well, including Davis High student Hana Moskowitz and Natalia Tan, a stylist with The Style Lounge in downtown Davis, who along with owner Jerry Piaz, has been providing publicity and outreach for the event.

After writing an agenda for the evening, Kyra systematically led the group through it, covering everything from finding more volunteers for the event to arranging for child care, refreshments, set-up and cleanup, parking and more.

The girls planned to be at church services over the weekend buttonholing more volunteers from the congregation and visiting downtown Davis businesses during the week, to ask if shop owners would put fliers up in their windows.

Meanwhile, Kyra had created a program for the event and Sara was organizing bake sale volunteers.

Kyra said the group was feeling good about their progress, “because we know what we’re doing now.”

In addition to a suggested donation of $5 to $15 for the movie screening, organizers will be collecting hair brushes and combs, head bands and other hair accessories for the Myanmar Children’s Foundation.

Overhead is minimal for the fundraiser, since Intel is covering the cost of the movie, the church is providing the space and the girls and their families and friends are putting in all the labor. So virtually everything donated will go to the cause.

Learn more about the Myanmar foundation at www.myanmarchildrensfoundation.org and about Girl Rising at www.girlrising.com. For more information about the Oct. 11 screening at the Unitarian Universalist Church, call Jessie Chabot at 530-341-2056 or email Autumn Labbé-Renault at [email protected]

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at [email protected] or 530-747-8051.

Learn more
What: A screening of the film “Girl Rising,” to benefit the Myanmar Children’s Foundation
When: Friday, Oct. 11, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Unitarian Universalist Church, 27074 Patwin Road
Suggested donation: $5 to $15

Anne Ternus-Bellamy

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