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 Santa Clara University Freshman Wants Everyone to 'Be a Part'

While most teenagers are looking forward to college, hanging out with their friends, and planning their weekends, two young women are focused on helping millions of young girls who are forced into marriages.

Santa Clara University freshman Cami Winding and her friend Isabella Chartouni launched a nonprofit organization last month called Be-a-Part. They were shocked and devastated after watching a PBS documentary, “Child Brides: Stolen Lives,” that detailed how girls were sold and bought into marriages with older men. According to the film, many child brides are abused and face high risks of pregnancy-related deaths.

“Our goals are twofold: first, to fund educational programs and health services for victims of child marriages,” explained Winding. “Second, we want to raise awareness and inspire other young girls to ‘be a part’ of the solution.”

To raise awareness and funds, Winding and Chartouni designed hip and fashionable t-shirts that carry the message of hope. The “Got Your Back” shirt is heather gray, featuring a gold feather and the phrase, “Got Your Back.” The “Heart Mind Body” style is white and repeats inspirational words including “heart, soul, diverse, motive, love…” in a pattern to form the outline of India, a country where child marriages are prevalent. Each shirt sells for $30, and 50 percent of the money collected will be donated to children’s humanitarian organizations.

The shirts were unveiled at the Be-A-Part launch party at Bloomingdales SOHO in New York City on Oct. 28. Actress Tea Leoni, NBC Today Show’s Ann Curry, and film producer Dina De Luca hosted the event.

Visit the Be-A-Part website to learn more about their cause.


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