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Summit Reads hosts panel discussion on humanitarian efforts with local volunteers

Jeff McElhattan is co-owner and founder of Imagine That, a digital marketing agency in Frisco, and serves as adjunct faculty at CMC/Online Education.
Special to the Daily |

The 2016 Summit Reads Community Project will host its next to last event, a panel discussion, with local humanitarian volunteers from Summit County. Continuing the focus of the committee’s book choice, “Mountain to Mountain,” by Shannon Galpin, Summit Reads’ panel discussion topic is humanitarian contributions and how our community can get involved.

“We wanted to hear from local humanitarians on what they are doing and how Summit County residents can help,” said Joyce Dierauer, Summit Reads committee member and executive director of Summit County Library, in a statement.

The free event will be March 31 at the Summit County South Branch Library in Breckenridge, starting at 6 p.m.

Mary Anne Johnston, Summit Reads committee member, humanitarian and moderator, will ask the participants to share their organization’s mission and why they chose to get involved. Prior to the discussion, a community meet and greet will occur in the foyer of the Hopefull/Discovery Room where local organizations with worldwide efforts can showcase their organization and meet attendees interested in their cause. The meet and greet is from 6–6:30 p.m. The panel discussion begins at 6:30 p.m.

Members of our community invited to serve on the panel include:

Karen and Ben Little

Karen and Ben Little began Water Pump Wells for Rural Cambodians in 2009 after a visit to the World Heritage Site, Angkor Wat, where they met Soeun Saron, their licensed tour guide. After the tour Saron explained his vision of clean, safe water for his countrymen in rural NW Cambodia where these subsistence farmers do not have water, electricity or sanitation. The Littles agreed to enlist the help of their friends from Summit County in Saron’s vision to provide clean, accessible water to rural villagers and schools in Cambodia through the drilling of water wells, distribution of ceramic filters and ongoing maintenance of these wells.

In the last seven years, in partnership with Lantern Projects (a 501(c)3, Oakland, California), and Summit County friends and organizations, such as churches and the Summit County Rotary, over 345 wells with filters have been drilled, over 200 filters for neighbors have been provided and all wells are maintained in working order. One hundred percent of donations go directly to the project. For more information, visit the website cambodiaruralwells.org.

Jeff McElhattan

Jeff is co-owner and founder of Imagine That, a digital marketing agency in Frisco. McElhattan also serves as adjunct faculty at CMC/Online Education. Jeff is a member of eClub One, Rotary’s online club. He has been to Guatemala four times since 2013 working with Rotary and other NGO’s on education-related humanitarian projects.

C. Louis Perrinjaquet, MD

“Doc PJ” has been working in Breckenridge since 1985 and is passionate about providing the best care possible for local residents and visitors, and is equally passionate about providing volunteer medical care in the most remote areas of greatest need in developing countries around the world.

Perrinjaquet works through the local 501(c)3 nonprofit, Doctors to the World to provide and coordinate volunteer medical care to those people living in some of the poorest areas of the world. More information is available on Facebook. Search: Doctors to the World or Louis Perrinjaquet.

Stephanie Schulman

Schulman is a junior in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme at Summit High School. She was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Shanghai, China, until sixth grade when her family relocated to Silverthorne. During her elementary school years at Shanghai Community International School, Schulman had many opportunities to be involved in charitable work that emphasized the importance of educating girls — not always a priority in Asia. Even at a young age, Schulman was amazed that girls like her could not go to school because of cost or the family’s need for their daughters to work. When she was in fifth grade, Schulman and her family were inspired by John Wood’s book, “Leaving Microsoft to Change the World,” and raised enough funds to sponsor a library through his nonprofit, Room to Read.

Room to Read is a nonprofit organization for improving literacy and gender equality in education in the developing world. For more information, go to roomtoread.org.

Greg Wright

Greg Wright has been involved with Summit In Honduras (SIH) since the effort started in 2005. Traveling with executive director Maggie Ducayet on her second trip to the country, he attended the annual conference on Honduras. Hearing a wide range of speakers that worked on humanitarian projects in the country, they agreed that Summit In Honduras would partner with small villages in rural southwestern Honduras to help with health and education. Wright made his ninth SIH trip last year.

In the last 10 years, Summit In Honduras has made annual medical trips and worked with three villages to build or rehab five school buildings. SIH works with Summit County Rotary Club on water filtration and education projects, and since 2011, SIH has hosted 45 students from Summit High School who traveled to help make a difference in one of the poorest countries of the Western Hemisphere.

Copies of this year’s book, “Mountain to Mountain” are available at Summit County Library for purchase or to check out and at The Next Page Books & Nosh in Frisco. Summit Reads is sponsored by the Summit County Library, Summit County Rotary, Summit Daily News, Next Page Books & Nosh and town of Silverthorne. Contact the Main Library at (970) 668-5555.


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