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Archive for Sunday, March 23, 2008

KU graduate highlights needs for school in Moldova

Volunteer asks for funds to replace 20 windows

March 23, 2008

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How to help

Contributions can be made by going to the Peace Corps Web site, www.peacecorps.gov/ contribute, and selecting the project No. 261-169.

Checks can be made payable to Peace Corps Partnership, noting the project number, and sent to Peace Corps Partnership Program, Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Headquarters, 1111 20th St. N.W., Washington, DC 20526.

For more information, call 785-363-7220.

A Kansas University graduate is trying to raise money in Lawrence for students in Europe.

Elizabeth Gray, 25, is in her second year of the Peace Corps volunteer program.

She is in a village near Moldova in eastern Europe, near Ukraine, teaching English to middle school and high school students in a cold, drafty classroom.

The poor conditions are due to windows that have fallen into disrepair.

"During the winter, which can be harsh and long in Moldova, the windows allow cold air to permeate the classrooms, which has adverse effects on the health and well-being of the students and faculty," Gray wrote in a grant request to the Peace Corps. "The health problems caused by the exposure to cold lead to an increased number of student absences, which hurts academic performance."

Because of the poor conditions, Gray has to bundle up when she teaches, said her mother, Shelly Gray, of Blue Rapids.

"When she teaches, she wears hats, gloves and layers of clothing," she said.

Elizabeth Gray is the volunteer coordinator for a window project for a school called Lyceem to replace 20 windows.

The Peace Corps is providing some funding, as are the school's PTA and the community's mayor's office.

Community members, who will raise 27 percent of the funds, will help install the windows, Shelly Gray said.

Gray is helping pass the word to family and her daughter's friends to raise money.

Both the daughter and mother's efforts appear to be paying off, but they could still use some help.

Nearly $2,000 for the project has been raised in the United States, according to the Peace Corps Web site, but $1,645 is still needed.

"I'm excited about the project because I think it's something that will last beyond her stay there, and I hope that it's completed successfully on time," Shelly Gray said.

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