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Student Peace Awards

Donya Momenian and Chrissie Ivanova received a 2017 Student Peace Award for their work with Girl Up

Margaret Rodgers

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Seniors Donya Momenian and Chrissie Ivanova were selected by Langley High School to receive a 2017 Student Peace Award of Fairfax County. For 15 years this organization has honored high school students who have promoted peace or worked to remove the causes of violence such as injustice, discrimination, and poverty.  The 22 recipients, consisting of both individuals and groups, were honored at a public reception on March 12.

Donya and Chrissie co-founded a chapter of Girl Up Club at Langley High School during their sophomore year and currently serve as co-presidents. Hannah Wolff, a college and career center specialist, credits Donya and Chrissie for their commitment and energy in working locally through this United Nations Foundation adolescent girl campaign.

Motivated to work in support of women’s rights, Donya and Chrissie decided that Girl Up was the most appropriate organization. They received permission from the school administrators to approach the UN Foundation in New York City for guidance in establishing and chairing a Girl Up Club. Over 1,000 of these clubs are registered in 43 US states and 51 countries, each dedicated to empowering girls through education, fundraising, advocacy, and service. Current development programs for educating girls are in six countries: Guatemala, India, Liberia, Malawi, Uganda and Ethiopia.

The Girl Up Club at Langley has grown from two to nearly 30 members – including a few boys. Meetings are held twice a month after school and information is disseminated through Twitter and Facebook. They raise awareness and recruit new members by participating in activity fairs at Langley and Cooper Middle School. Chrissie and Donya have raised money though bake sales and the club prepared feminine hygiene packages for ‘Days for Girls’ to be distributed to adolescent girls in developing countries.

Hannah Wolff notes, “When girls are empowered, it benefits all of us. Investing in girls is key to reducing poverty: girls who receive an education marry later, have fewer children, and are more likely to get healthcare for themselves and their children.”

*Story courtesy of Margaret Rodgers

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