SCOTCH PLAINS -  The Scotch Plains Public Library celebrated the start of The Big Read with a pre-kickoff event. Wednesday night when Jessica Lawson, co-founder and associate director of Mariposa DR Foundation, began a presentation with a summary of The Girl Effect. The Girl Effect is a movement created by the Nike Foundation, United Nations Foundation, and the Coalition for Adolescent Girls. It assists girls in ending poverty for themselves, their villages, towns and countries.

The Mariposa DR Foundation won 1st place in the Nike Girl Effect Challenge, beating out 53 organizations worldwide and raising over $25,000 from 900 different donors.

Jessica’s presentation continued with a description of the work that is done by The Mariposa DR Foundation. The Foundation is located in a small beach town on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. Their mission is to “educate and empower girls to create sustainable solutions to end generational poverty.”

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The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowments for the Arts, designed to restore reading to the center of the American culture. The Big Read is managed by Arts Midwest, which “promotes creativity, nurtures cultural leadership, and engages people in meaningful arts experiences…” Joshua Feist, Program Associate for Arts Midwest, showed support for the program by attending last night’s event.

The Big Read Kickoff Concert, with Tropyband Orquesta, will take place tonight at the Scotch Plains Fanwood High School from 7 – 8:30 PM.

The SPPL is one of 78 non-profit organizations in the USA to receive a coveted Big Read grant between September 2012 and June 2013.

For more information about what Scotch Plains Public Library will offer, please see their events brochure

For more information about The Big Read please visit neabigread.org.