Friday, July 6, 2007

Mountain to Mountain

The energy and excitement from friends, new and old, who hear about our involvement in the PWCC has constantly rejuvenated us. Many of my male friends have offered to wear skirts and wigs to be able to be a part of this program. One friend and fellow photographer, Tony DiZinno, is a great example. After photographing the Teva games in Vail, Colorado, he visited me in Aspen. Insistent on making an introduction he knew would be fruitful, we drove to Breckenridge, CO for a lunch with Shannon Galpin, one of the two women who founded Mountain to Mountain. It took about 10 seconds for Shannon and I to know we had to work together. We had both lived in Beirut, Lebanon and shared a love for the place… as Omar Shariff said- “Once Lebanese, you are always Lebanese.” (And he was Egyptain. His love for Lebanon came while filming Lawrence of Arabia). There is a joy of life, an appreciation for being alive, no matter what is happening there that inspires you to live life to the fullest.

Mountain to Mountain was created by Shannon Galpin and Tara Dugan to spearhead fundraising efforts for community projects in remote mountain areas around the world. Built upon the vision of uniting like-minded mountain communities with a single cause, Mountain to Mountain will help fund and promote projects, specifically in the areas of education and environmental awareness, in other mountain communities around the world.

On the evening of their inaugural event, I watched Shannon and Tara raise $50,000 to build a school for girls in the earthquake-ravaged area of Azad Kashmir, to be built by the Central Asia Institute. Greg Mortenson, who the founder of the Central Asia Institute, and the subject of the book Three Cups of Tea, was the presenter. That evening, they also secured a $25,000 challenge grant. I spoke with Shannon this morning; they reached their challenge grant and have raised over $100,000, enough to build two girl’s schools.

I am in awe!

Mountain to Mountain has offered to adopt the Pakistani Women’s Climbing Camp as one of its partner programs. We are flattered and honored to be working with these two incredible women! More to come on our work together soon!


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