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Newsmaker: Sara Goodkind |

Newsmaker: Sara Goodkind

University of Pittsburgh Associate Professor of Social Work Sara Goodkind will be awarded the inaugural Deborah Harding Women of Achievement Award by the National Peace Corps Association at its annual conference in Washington D.C. on September 23.The award recognizes Goodkind’s work as founder of Girls Leading Our World (GLOW) Camps, now implemented in Peace Corps countries worldwide. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will present the award.

Noteworthy: Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will award Goodkind the first Deborah Harding Women of Achievement Award during the annual conference of the National Peace Corps Association in Washington on Sept. 23. Created by the Women of Peace Corps Legacy, the award recognizes Peace Corps volunteers whose contributions have made a significant difference in the lives of women and girls around the world. Goodkind founded the Girls Leading Our World program in 1995 in Romania. Volunteers have since implemented the camps in 60 countries.

Occupation: Goodkind is an associate professor of social work at the University of Pittsburgh.

Age: 45

Residence: Squirrel Hill

Family: Husband, Jeff Shook, and children Maya, 13, and Zack, 9.

Education: Goodkind holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Amherst College in Massachusetts, and a master’s degree in social work and a doctorate in social work and sociology from the University of Michigan.

Background: While teaching English to middle and high school students as a Peace Corps volunteer in Romania from 1994 to 1996, Goodkind saw that there weren’t a lot of leadership opportunities for girls and women in Romania. Obtaining $1,500 from the U.S. Democracy Commission, she and two other volunteers and some Romanian teachers took 81 girls to an eight-day camp in the Transylvania mountains, which are part of Romania. The Peace Corps liked the idea and has asked her to make presentations on the idea so others could replicate it.

Quote: “The great thing about the Peace Corps is that they have all these ideas, but they encourage people to adapt them to their specific location or the issues facing the girls in that country.”

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