ASTRA Club raises funds for Pennies for Peace

Montrose High School's ASTRA Club members collected $444.58, mostly in pennies, as part of their International service project supporting Pennies for Peace. Students set out penny-collection jars and informational brochures (699 kb PDF) at a number of Montrose businesses and organizations. With the help of the staff at Vectra Bank, ASTRA members counted the pennies and other donations collected.

Pennies for Peace is a program of Central Asia Institute (CAI), a charitable organization which builds schools, trains teachers, and provides women's vocational training and public health programs in remote rural communities in Central Asia, including Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Educating girls is a top priority for CAI. The literacy rate in Afghanistan is about 32%, but, while the literacy rate for men is 47%, the rate for women is estimated at only 3%. Even a fifth-grade education level for girls helps to reduce the infant mortality rate significantly, in addition to improving the general health and quality of life for women and their children.

The Montrose community, including Altrusa International, Inc. of Montrose CO and Montrose High School, has raised over $4,600 for CAI to date. This donation amount can support 100 primary students for a year, provide annual supplies to a Women's Center and to a Midwife, fund 2 advanced student scholarships, plus pay the annual salary for 3 teachers.

ASTRA would like to thank the Montrose community for their donations to the Pennies for Peace jars, and especially thank the following businesses and organizations for displaying Pennies for Peace jars in their offices:

Montrose School District Central Office
Montrose High School Guidance Office
Dr. Mindy Miller
Mesa State College
Nepal Restaurant
Camelot Gardens
Brown's Shoe Fit
Buckhorn Geotech
Montrose Memorial Hospital
The Ute Museum
Gigi Ann's
The Coffee Trader
Parker Investments

Thanks also to the folks at Vectra Bank for letting the group use their coin-counting machine (much to the relief of several girls who thought they'd be counting coins by hand), and for the warm reception, cold punch, and cookies.

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