Meaghan Townsend, a rising senior at Harvard University and an Ossining Children’s Center (OCC) volunteer, ventured into the White Mountain National Forest at 4:45 AM on July 24 to attempt a direttissima, a continuous hike climbing all 48 peaks of the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Though Meaghan had to end her journey prematurely due to a serious leg injury, she raised an impressive $8800 for OCC’s tuition assistance program.
As an English major and with an education minor, Meaghan was inspired by the central role education has played in her life from a young age and her love of the outdoors, which was cultivated through her heavy involvement in the Harvard Outing Club. As Meaghan thought about choosing an organization to support, she fondly remembered reading to children at OCC.
“Organizations like OCC have never been more crucial, as the pandemic continues to exacerbate educational inequalities,” Meaghan said, “Initial research suggests that, due to limited technological resources and support from working parents, lower-income students have suffered the most under remote learning.”
“We all feel the hunger for a more equal society—and early childhood education is one of our best bets to get there,” continued Meaghan.” I believe the world would also be a happier and healthier place if people were able to spend more time outside. The White Mountains have radically transformed who I am as a person, and I want to share with more people the deep reserves of confidence and joy I’ve been lucky enough to find there. It all comes down to empowering yourself through experience. Donating to OCC cultivates the development of this self-confidence and love of learning among kids in need.”
Since its inception 125 years ago, OCC remains committed to creating a strong lifelong foundation for children’s intellectual, social, emotional and physical growth. OCC’s generous tuition assistance program enables children from low to middle income families to partake in OOC’s high quality programs.
“We are so grateful that Meaghan included OCC in her incredible adventure,” said Howard Milbert, OCC’s Executive Director.” We are aiming to expand our tuition assistant program as we open our newly constructed modern building this fall. Meaghan’s efforts will enhance even more children’s lives throughout the greater Ossining community.”