Middle school and college students in Turlock made solar panels to supply electricity for a girls school in Kenya.
Physics majors at California State University, Stanislaus, worked with Dutcher Middle School's science club last fall to assemble the small devices.
They went to a high school in Nyanza District, Kenya, that had been getting by on generators, lanterns and flashlights. The gift went over well, judging by thank-you letters back to Turlock.
“I enjoy reading my notes in every subject, and when I am bored, I read novels,” wrote a 14-year-old named Susan.
The project had help from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and from We Share Solar, a Berkeley-based group that sends panels to schools around the world.
The Kenyan school works to lift students from extreme poverty while battling "deeply entrenched gender roles" that lead to forced marriage, early pregnancy and a high rate of HIV/AIDS, according to a news release from Stan State.
Lawmakers recognize nonprofits
Five groups in and near Stanislaus County received Nonprofit of the Year awards at a Sacramento luncheon Wednesday.
Each state legislator can choose a recipient in his or her district for the event, sponsored by the California Association of Nonprofits. They included:
- Stanislaus Family Justice Center, chosen by Sen. Cathleen Galgiani. The center aids victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse and human trafficking.
- Howard Training Center, selected by Sen. Tom Berryhill. This nonprofit serves disabled adults.
- El Concilio, by Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman. It provides education and other services for low-income people.
- Mariposa County Fire Safe Council, by Assemblyman Frank Bigelow. The council helps residents reduce wildfire fuel around their homes.
- Court Appointed Special Advocates of Merced County, by Assemblyman Adam Gray. CASA helps children navigate the foster care system.
CASA of Monterey County was honored by Sen. Anthony Cannella, whose district reaches into the San Joaquin Valley.
And finally ...
Geri Lewis has been named executive director of the McHenry Museum and Historical Society. Lewis, who has more than 30 years of fund-raising experience, will work in the newly created position with curator Wayne Mathes.
The local-history museum in the former Stanislaus County Library at 14th and I streets. It is open from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. Admission is free.
Lewis said by email that she would like to increase annual visitors beyond the 8,000 or so currently. She hopes to "let them see what they are a part of and the history that made the Central Valley as great as it is."
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